Despite recent volatility on Wall Street, the University of Michigan released a report on Friday unexpectedly showing a significant improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of February.
The preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for February came in at 99.9, up from the final January reading of 95.7. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 95.5.
“Consumer sentiment rose in early February to its second highest level since 2004 despite lower and much more volatile stock prices,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.
Curtin said stock market gyrations were overshadowed by rising incomes, employment growth, and net favorable perceptions of tax reform.
The report said the current economic conditions index climbed to 115.1 in February from 110.5 in January, while the index of consumer expectations rose to 90.2 from 86.3.
On the inflation front, one-year inflation expectations remained at 2.7 percent for the third straight month, while five-year inflation expectations held at 2.5 percent.