U.S. consumers' attitudes toward the economy slipped this month, according to a report released Friday.

Market sources who had seen the University of Michigan's mid-month report on consumer sentiment said its preliminary estimate for February stood at 87.4, down from 91.2 in January.

The private research group's report is released only to subscribers.

The reading was below economists' forecasts. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC had predicted a reading of 91.0.

The survey's findings are based on a telephone survey of around 300 respondents.

The report's current conditions index fell to 107.7 in the middle of the month, from 110.3 in January.

The expectations gauge fell modestly to 74.4 in mid-February, from 78.9 in January.