Consumer Sentiment Rises on Brighter Views of Personal Finances

Consumer sentiment rose in March as Americans registered sunnier views about the state of their finances while becoming less upbeat about the long-term economic outlook, University of Michigan survey data showed Friday.

Key Points

Final sentiment index rose to 96.9 from 96.3 in February Compares with 97.6 median estimate of economists; preliminary reading was also 97.6 Current conditions gauge, which measures Americans’ perceptions of their personal finances, increased to 113.2 from 111.5 the prior month; while that’s the strongest since July 2005, it’s below a preliminary reading of 114.5

Big Picture

Sentiment is holding close to its healthiest levels in more than a decade even as Americans, especially middle- and upper-income earners, monitor an easing in the stock-market rally that could moderate household wealth. Optimism since the November election has largely cut along party lines, with Republicans feeling much better that the new administration’s policies will boost growth. At the

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