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Economic Report: Inflation expectations rise in October as consumer mood stays somber


The numbers: Consumer sentiment rose slightly to 59.8 in October even as Americans’ expectations for inflation worsened, according to a Friday survey.

The University of Michigan’s gauge of consumer attitudes added 1.2 index points from 58.6 in September.

Economists were expecting a reading of 59, according to a Wall Street Journal poll.

Consumer expectations for inflation over the next year rose to 5.1% from September’s one-year low of 4.7%, while expectations for inflation over the next 5 years ticked up to 2.9% from 2.7% last month.

Big picture: Americans are facing rising costs for key items like food and shelter as well as the impact of higher interest rates and the growing chance of a serious economic slowdown.

“Sentiment is now 9.8 points above the all-time low reached in June, but this improvement remains tentative, as the expectations index declined by 3% from last month,” wrote Joanne Hsu, director of the survey, on Friday. “Continued uncertainty over the future trajectory of prices, economies, and financial markets around the world indicate a bumpy road ahead for consumers.”

Key details: A  gauge of consumer’s views of current conditions rose in October to 65.3 from 59.7 in September, while an indicator of expectations for the next six months fell to 56.2 from 58 last month.

Market reaction: U.S. stocks were trading mixed Friday morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average

posting gains and the S&P 500

index showing slight losses.

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