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Consumer confidence high — at least for the time being


U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level since January in early August, reflecting optimism in the overall economy and in personal financial prospects.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to 97.6 in the first half of August from 93.4 in July, which was an eight-month low. Economists estimated the index would hit 94 in August.

However, Richard Curtin, chief economist for the University of Michigan's Surveys of Consumers, said backlash over Charlottesville and U.S. President Donald Trump's response could weigh on subsequent survey readings.

"The fallout is likely to reverse the improvement in economic expectations recorded across all political affiliations in early August," Curtin stated. "Moreover, the Charlottesville aftermath is more likely to weaken the economic expectations of Republicans, since prospects for Trump's economic policy agenda have diminished."

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