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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Holds Steady In December

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A preliminary report released by the University of Michigan on Friday showed U.S. consumer sentiment has held steady in the month of December.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for December came in at 97.5, unchanged from the final November reading. Economists had expected the index to dip to 97.0.

"As noted in last month's report, as long as job and income growth remain strong, rising prices and interest rates will not cause substantial cutbacks in spending," said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.

He added, "In the early December survey, however, consumers did mention hearing much more negative news about future job prospects."

The unchanged reading on consumer sentiment in December came as improvement in consumers' assessment of current economic conditions was offset by a drop in expectations.

The report said the current economic conditions index rose to 115.2 in December from 112.3 in November, while the index of consumer expectations fell to 86.1 from 88.1.

On the inflation front, one-year inflation expectations edged down to 2.7 percent in December from 2.8 percent in November and five-year inflation expectations pulled back to 2.4 percent from 2.6 percent.

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