NEW YORK – U.S. consumer sentiment dipped in August but stabilized as the stock market rebounded for most of the month, even as Americans fret about the economy's future path.
The University of Michigan's final August consumer sentiment index fell slightly to 87.6, down from 88.1 in July and a mid-month reading of 87.9, market sources said Friday. That was below economists expectations for a rise to 88.3.
Analysts track measures of confidence for clues on future spending, but in recent months purchases of homes and autos have remained resilient even as confidence has taken a hit. Earlier, government data showed personal spending surged 1.0 percent in July, the biggest since last October, even as confidence measures fell sharply last month.
The final August current conditions index edged lower to 98.5 from 99.3 in July and a mid-month reading of 100.2, while the expectations index, which tracks attitudes about the 12 months ahead, slipped to 80.6 in August from 81.0 in July but was above the preliminary reading of 80.0.
The final University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey is based on telephone interviews with roughly 500 Americans across the country on personal finances and business and buying conditions.