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Consumer expectations reach lowest point since 1981

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Consumer sentiment rose in the latest Reuters/University of Michigan survey, but the uptick did little to end the gloom-and-doom view of the economy. The consumer sentiment index for September increased to 57.8 from 55.7 the previous month. Analysts surveyed by Econoday expected a reading of 56 with a range of estimates between 52 and 59.6. In mid-July, the index slid to 54.9 before ending the month slightly higher. Econoday said the index last slipped below 55 in November 2008 in the wake of Lehman Brothers' collapse. Consumer expectations for the next six months is at levels last seen more than 30 years ago due to the weak jobs market and recent trouble in the financial markets, according to Econoday. The assessment of the six-month outlook is at 47. "As recently as May, this component was approaching a respectable 70," Econoday said. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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