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US consumer sentiment eases more than expected in October

Consumer sentiment in the U.S. eased more than expected in October, but confidence in the government's economic policies rose to a 15-year high, according to preliminary data from the University of Michigan.

The index of consumer sentiment slipped to 99.0 this month from 100.1 in September and 100.7 a year ago. Econoday forecast the index to come in at 99.5. The decline was attributed to shoppers' less favorable assessments of their personal finances.

The measure for current economic conditions edged down to 114.4 from 115.2 last month, and the consumer expectations index fell to 89.1 from 90.5.

Downward revisions in the rate of household income growth and upward revisions in the year-ahead expected inflation rate weakened real income expectations, according to the survey.

Consumer confidence in the government's economic policies rose to its highest level in a decade and a half, reflecting the strong performance of the U.S. economy.

"Most of the October gain was due to an upward adjustment by Democrats, although their evaluations were still well below the much more favorable evaluations of Republicans," said Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers chief economist.

When asked about the potential impact of the upcoming election on their own personal finances and on the overall economy, more consumers frequently cited Republicans than Democrats as having positive effects, while a substantial portion said there was no difference.

The survey also noted that the sharp sell-off in equities on Oct. 10-11 did not affect the early October data, and the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh had no apparent impact on the country's economic outlook.