A preliminary January reading of consumer sentiment rose to 74, the highest level of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index since May. The index reading released Friday also marks a 4.1-point jump from December and five months of increases after an August low of 55.7. It's down slightly, however, from a January 2011 reading of 74.2. A rating of 100 reflects an exceptionally high level of consumer sentiment, benchmarked at the first quarter of 1966. The index surveys 500 households each month on economic attitudes. Write to Andrew Scoggin. Follow him on Twitter @ascoggin.