Consumer sentiment is on the rise, reports MarketWatch staffer Andrea Riquier. Sentiment has increased for the third straight month according to the University of Michigan confidence index. The December gain was among households with incomes in the lower two-thirds, and took the 2015 average to 92.9, the highest since 2004. Consumer spending is expected to increase 2.8% in 2016. 

However, the index did not increase as much as economists had predicted. The index reached 91.8, a 0.5 point increase from the previous month, but not quite at the 92.0 reading that economists were hoping for. 

The survey found “persistent strength” in buying plans and assessments of personal finances, the survey director said in a release, but views of the national economy in the year ahead darkened.

Read more >