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Market

Consumer sentiment wanes, slows spending

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WASHINGTON (3/31/14)--Consumer confidence shriveled a bit this month as the University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell 1.6 points to 80, just as analysts had expected for March (Moody's March 28).

The reading is the lowest since November.

Persistent wintry weather, concern over turmoil overseas, patchy job growth and rising gas prices all may have contributed to the dour mood (MarketWatch March 28).

Economists look to consumer confidence--or sentiment--to gauge the direction of consumer spending, the force that largely drives the economy.

Meanwhile, the economic expectations subcomponent fell 2.7 points, also the lowest reading since November. Buyers expect prices to rise 3.2% over the next 12 months, the same line of thinking as in February. Shoppers also project inflation to rise 2.9% on average over the next five years.

However, despite more of the same cool economic numbers reported of late, analysts still believe the data will rebound in the coming months as the weather warms.

Buyers should have their faith restored in the recovery, according to Moody's, as news of an improving economy rolls in.