U.S. consumer sentiment (search) improved in early June, soothed by a retreat in gasoline prices, the University of Michigan (search) said on Friday.

The University of Michigan said consumer confidence index jumped to 94.8 so far this month from 86.9 in May, according to market sources who saw the subscription-only survey.

Expectations for the future also got a boost, with that component of the index rising to 84.8 from 75.3 in May, while Americans' assessment of current conditions climbed to 110.4 from 104.9 in May.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of overall U.S. economic activity, and any improvement in confidence is seen as a precursor to stronger growth.

However, in recent years the correlation between confidence and retail sales has weakened, with consumers buying new cars and homes in earnest even as they tell surveys that things are getting worse.