December's consumer sentiment index hit 74.5, the second lowest reading in 15 years. The Reuters/University of Michigan survey showed the sentiment has dropped since last month, when it came in a 76.1, to the worst levels since Katrina in October 2005. The figure was also below economists' forecasts of 75.0. The consumer expectations index for December hit 63.2, matching the lowest level since 1992, when the U.S. economy was recovering from a recession. "We can see no reason now for things to improve," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics. Retailers released November sales results this week, with 44% beating analysts' forecasts, while 51% fell short.
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