NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Consumers are less confident about the state of the economy, according to the preliminary April survey by the University of Michigan as reported by Reuters, bucking Wall Street expectations of an improved reading.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own
alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.
Or, visit Popular Alerts
The closely watched consumer confidence survey came in with a reading of 93.2, down from a 95.8 reading at the end of March, Reuters reported, citing sources who had seen the report sent to subscribers. Analysts surveyed by Briefing.com forecast a rise to a 97.0 reading in the month.
The more pessimistic view came despite economic reports showing such measures as employment and manufacturing activity improving in the country. But rising gas prices and perhaps concerns about rising interest rates could be impacting consumer views of the economy, said Ethan Harris, chief economist for Lehman Bros.
"You've had obviously a rise in gasoline prices, which is the visible price in the economy," said Harris. "There's (also) a tendency of the public to look at the unemployment rate that actually rose in March, while Wall Street looks at payrolls (which showed a large jump in the number of people working.)"
Harris said some of the distressing war news from Iraq could also be impacting how consumers say they feel. But he said that other reports that are a gauge of consumer attitudes, particularly retail sales figures, suggest that things aren't as bad as this survey suggests.
"They're voting with their wallets and they're spending," said Harris. "There's always a concern that people just don't like what they're seeing, but they are still buying."
Reuters reported the survey's index that measures consumers' view of current conditions fell to 104.1 in April from 106.8 in March, while the part of the index charting their expectations also dropped, slipping to 86.2 from 88.8 in March.