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April 11, 2014 10:00 AM, EDT
Consumer Sentiment Rises to Highest Level Since July
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment climbed to 82.6 in April, the highest level since July, from a four-month low of 80 in March.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists called for the measure to increase to 81.

More favorable views of current conditions and the outlook show consumers are taking higher prices at grocery stores and gas stations in stride, indicating gains in household purchases will be sustained.

“The confidence that we had going into 2014 got pushed back a couple months, but now we’re going to see it blossom in the spring,” said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial. “Expectations are high for the second quarter to really rebound from the first quarter.”

The index averaged 89 in the five years before December 2007, when the last recession began, and 64.2 in the 18-month contraction that followed.