NEW YORK - The University of Michigan's preliminary March consumer sentiment index reading was 76.2, compared to preliminary March 74.3, the final February 75.3, the preliminary February 72.5, and the final January 75.0, according to market sources.

The expectations index was 69.8, compared to 68.0 earlier in the month, 70.3 in February, 68.0 earlier in February, and 69.1 in January.

The current conditions index was 86.0, compared to 84.2 earlier in the month, 83.0 in February, 79.6 earlier in February, and 84.2 in January.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted a 74.6 reading for the main index, 84.5 for current conditions and 68.0 for expectations.

The five-year inflation expectation index was 3.0%, compared to 2.9% in February and 2.7% in January, while the one-year inflation expectation index was 3.9%, compared to 3.3% in February and 3.3% in January.

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

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