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    Consumer Sentiment Highest in 18 Months

    NEW YORK - U.S. consumer sentiment rose in May to its highest level in 18 months, Reuters reports.

    NEW YORK - U.S. consumer sentiment rose in May to its highest level in 18 months, Reuters reports.

    The University of Michigan's final May consumer sentiment index, released today, rose to 96.9 from 93.0 in April.

    Retail sales in April doubled analysts' forecasts, and personal spending also surged, ensuring a strong start to second quarter growth after last year's mild recession, Reuters reports. Consumer spending underpins two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

    The final current conditions index, which tracks consumers' views about their present financial situation, rose to 103.5 in May from 99.2 in April. The expectations index, which measures attitudes about the 12 months ahead, rose to 92.7 in May from 89.1 in April.

    The University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey is based on telephone interviews with roughly 500 Americans across the country on personal finances and business and buying conditions.

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