June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among U.S. consumers rose this month for a fourth straight time, reflecting signs that the worst recession in at least five decades may end this year. The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment increased to 69, less than forecast while the highest level in nine months, from 68.7 in May.
“Confidence is slowly but surely coming back,” James O’Sullivan, a senior economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said before the report. “In the next few months we should see more follow-through in the labor market, which in turn should give confidence a further boost, which in turn should lead to a sustained recovery in consumer spending.”
MP: The last time the Michigan consumer sentiment index increased in four consecutive months was the period from October 2001 to January 2002, which signalled the end of the 2001 recession (see shaded area in chart above). The four-month cumulative increase of 12.7 points in consumer sentiment from March to June 2009 (see shaded area in chart) is even greater than the 11.2 point increase in late 2001-early 2002.