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Consumer confidence a bit brighter in August, but economic risks remain

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Consumer confidence edged up slightly in the latest consumer sentiment report from the University of Michigan and Reuters as more consumers grew optimistic about improving conditions, including recent stabilization in weekly jobless claims.

The overall confidence index score hit 73.6 in the preliminary August report from Reuters and the University of Michigan, according to analysts with Econoday. That is up from estimates of an index score of 72 for the month and above July's 72.3 score. 

The consumer outlook on current market conditions is up to an index score of 87.6 this month, compared to 82.7 in July.

Still, Econoday said "this gain isn't translating into any more optimism on the outlook as the expectations index fell more than one point to 64.5 versus 65.6 in July."

Two factors influencing inflation expectations include rising food and oil prices. Still, the markets found the confidence survey relatively improved from July.

"The Dow moved to opening highs in immediate reaction to this report which offers an early hint of improving conditions, at least for the month of August compared to the month of July," Econoday said. "But the inflation readings and the downbeat expectations are a reminder that risks to the outlook remain."

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