U.S. consumer sentiment declines

U.S. consumer sentiment eased in February, according to a private survey released on Friday.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of its consumer confidence index for February was 94.2, off from January’s final reading of 95.5, Reuters reports. The private report is only available to subscribers.

Consumer confidence is considered a barometer of consumer spending, which makes up over 60% of the U.S. economy. However, there has not been a strong correlation between confidence and retail sales in recent years.

The preliminary index is based on a phone survey of about 300 households. The final report for the month, due March 4, will reflect about 500 responses.