For the month of April, the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 65.4 from a revised 63.8 reading in March and ahead of the 64.5 analyst consensus from Bloomberg.
During March 2011, U.S. retail sales grew 0.4% on a month-over-month basis and 7% on a year-over-year basis. Specifically, spending in clothing stores was up 0.6%, building and gardening materials purchases increased by 2.2% and furniture sales jumped 3.6%.
In a recent report, IHS Global Insight estimated that real gross domestic product will expand between 3.5% and 4.0% in the second half of 2011 as an improving job market boosts consumer spending. During March, the U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate declined to 8.8% from 8.6% in February.We have selected 10 consumer goods stocks that could rise as much as 62% over the next year, based on consensus analyst estimates from Bloomberg. These companies are in categories including apparel, accessories, baby products and furnishings.