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Consumer Sentiment Remains Steady in the U.S.

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12/07/2018 | 10:50am EDT

By Harriet Torry

Consumers' outlook on the U.S. economy held steady in December, as a strong economy and robust job growth continued to support American consumers' robust sentiment.

The University of Michigan said Friday its preliminary index of consumer sentiment was 97.5 this month, unchanged from November's final reading of 97.5.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a preliminary reading of 97.0 for December.

"As long as job and income growth remain strong, rising prices and interest rates will not cause substantial cutbacks in spending," said the survey's chief economist Richard Curtin.

Still, he noted that in the early December survey, "consumers did mention hearing much more negative news about future job prospects."

More broadly, the sentiment gauge has held in 2018 at the highest level of any year since 2000. The readings climbed after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 and have been supported since then by solid economic growth, consistent hiring and historically low unemployment.

Write to Harriet Torry at harriet.torry@wsj.com

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