U.S. consumer sentiment rose to 85.1 in July, its highest level since July 2007, according to a University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters survey released Friday.

The results topped expectations and exceeded the previous month's level. Analysts polled by Briefing.com were expecting on average that confidence in July would reach the 84.1 mark, fairly better than June's final reading of 83.9 points.

The survey of about 500 consumers is a leading indicator of consumer spending and measures overall economic activity. The new figure indicates that Americans felt better about the current economic climate during July, yet survey results also show that they expect to see a slower rate of growth in the next year.

"This high level of confidence points toward a continued expansion of consumer spending in the year ahead," said the survey's director, Richard Curtin, in a statement.