U Mich.: Consumer Sentiment Tumbles in February

U.S. consumer sentiment fell sharply in February as Americans, concerned about sluggish jobs growth, turned cautious about the outlook for the U.S. economy, according to a survey released Friday.

The University of Michigan's (search) final reading of consumer sentiment this month fell to 94.4 from January's final reading of 103.8, which was its highest level in over three years, said market sources who saw the report.

The result, however, was slightly better than market expectations of a fall to 93.5, and slightly higher than February's preliminary figure of 93.1.

The University of Michigan report, which is released only to paying subscribers, was consistent with the Conference Board's (search) consumer confidence survey earlier in the week. That index fell more steeply than expected.

The Michigan survey's current conditions index fell to 103.6 from 109.5 in January, while the consumer expectations index dropped to 88.5 from a final reading of 100.1 last month.

The dollar slipped on the report, with the euro above $1.2480, while U.S. Treasuries were mostly steady.

The University of Michigan survey is based on telephone interviews with 500 U.S. households over the course of the month on personal finances and business and buying conditions.