February UMich sentiment falls to 72.5: reports (by Ruth Mantell)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The preliminary February reading of the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters gauge of consumer sentiment fell to 72.5 in February from 75 in January, according to Friday media reports. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a February reading of 75.5. The sentiment gauge, which covers how consumers view their personal finances as well as business and buying conditions, averaged about 87 in the year before the start of the most recent recession. Economists watch sentiment data to get a feel for the direction of consumer spending.