U.S. consumer sentiment edged up this month to a three-month high as a stock market rally appears to have offset the impact of rising gasoline prices.
The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's measure of consumer sentiment climbed in August to 73.6. Besides the recent gain in equity prices, stronger consumer confidence may reflect increased retail sales and low interest rates.
"Overall, consumer confidence is not really telling a strong story either way at the moment," Capital Economics said in a note. "The index is down a little from where it was in the opening few months of this year and still below its long-term average. At the same time, however, it is worth remembering that this index plummeted to 55.8 in August 2011."