The preliminary results of the University of Michigan's monthly consumer confidence survey are out.
The report's headline index fell to 79.9 from February's 81.6 reading. The consensus forecast of market economists predicted it would rise slightly to 82.0.
The economic conditions sub-index rose to 96.1 from 95.4, but the economic outlook sub-index fell to 69.4 from 72.7.
Inflation expectations one and five years ahead remained unchanged at 3.2% and 2.9%, respectively.
"While broader confidence surprised to the downside, relative buying conditions for homes and durable goods saw further improvement during the month," says Gennadiy Goldberg, a U.S. strategist at TD Securities.
"Relative home buying conditions edged to 159 from 158 in March, with durable goods purchase intentions rising to 149 from 148. The fall to 132 from 138 in auto purchase intentions this month was a bit concerning, but with dealers heavily discounting autos due to the recent (likely weather-induced) slump in demand, we believe auto purchase expectations will rebound substantially in the coming months. In fact, the number of respondents suggesting that they cannot purchase autos due to high prices plunged to 8% from 14% this month — reflecting the hefty discounts. Despite recent volatility, trends in consumer purchase intentions remain broadly positive, suggesting that stronger consumer expenditures will continue to support the economic recovery in the months ahead."
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