The University of Michigan’s preliminary March consumer sentiment index reading was 70.5, compared to the final 70.8 reading for February, the preliminary February reading of 69.6, and the final January consumer sentiment index reading of 78.4, market sources said Friday.

Economists polled by IFR Markets had predicted a 69.5 reading for the index.

The expectations index was 61.4, compared to 62.4 last month, 59.4 at mid-February, 68.1 in January, and 69.1 earlier in January.

The current conditions index was 84.6, compared to 83.8 last month, 85.4 at mid-February, 94.4 in January, and 98.1 at mid-January.

The University of Michigan index is not released to the press, but only to paying subscribers.

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