U.S. consumer sentiment (search) staged a surprise upturn in early June, defying analysts' predictions for a decline on the back of high energy prices and the turmoil in Iraq (news - web sites), according to a survey on Tuesday.

The University of Michigan's (search) preliminary survey of consumer confidence for June showed its sentiment index rose to 95.2 from a final reading of 90.2 in May, according to sources who saw the subscription-only report, breaking a two-month decline.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a fall to 89.9 as record-high gasoline prices and geopolitical concerns offset some of the recent optimism over the improvement in the jobs market.

The expectations index rose to 86.9 in June from 81.6 in May, most likely in line with the dramatic pick-up in the jobs market over the past few months.

The current conditions component rose to 108.1 from 103.6, its best since January this year.