By David Harrison
Americans' economic outlook weakened very slightly at the start of January but remained near its recent highs, according to a University of Michigan survey released Friday.
The survey's headline index of consumer sentiment was 99.1 in early January, down from 99.3 at the end of December. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a reading of 99.5.
The survey's index of current economic conditions -- based on respondents' views of consumers' financial situation -- was 115.8, up slightly from 115.5 at the end of December.
Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, said the numbers suggests consumer spending, which has powered the record-long expansion, should remain strong in the near term.
"Consumers will continue to sustain the expansion due to their favorable judgments about their current and prospective financial situation," he said. "Of course, whether that strength will last another two years is uncertain given the election season has begun and will feature fundamental changes in taxes and spending programs."
Respondents to the survey reported feeling upbeat about their prospects this year. About 57% saw economic conditions improving, up from 55% last month, Mr. Curtin said. Low mortgage rates also led respondents to say home buying conditions were favorable.
The data release was delayed due to a fiber cut, according to the survey's website.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 17, 2020 10:53 ET (15:53 GMT)
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