Consumer sentiment climbs

Rise is first time in four months

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Consumer confidence rose in September for the first time in four months as Americans grew more upbeat about the prospects for incomes and persistent low inflation.

The University of Michigan said Friday that its final index of sentiment rose to 91.2 from 89.8 in August. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey called for 90, little changed from the 89.8 preliminary September reading.

Relatively subdued gasoline and grocery costs and moderate wage increases are keeping Americans optimistic that their incomes will stretch further. At the same time, consumers’ assessments of current economic conditions were the weakest in almost a year, which may keep spending moderate after an August slowdown.

“Low inflation continues to be a source of strength that has offset meager, although improved, income increases and boosted real income expectations,” Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan consumer survey, said in a statement. “The slightly improved outlook for the economy came despite unchanged jobs prospects and the expectation of rising interest rates.”

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