The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of U.S. consumer sentiment for February rose to 77.6 from 73.8 at the end of the previous month.
Economists projected 76.3 for the February gauge, the same as the preliminary reading, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Projections of the 58 economists surveyed ranged from 74 to 78.
The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession and 89 in the five years before the 18-month economic slump that ended in June 2009.
In a separate report today, the Commerce Department said today consumer spending climbed 0.2 percent in January after a 0.1 percent gain the prior month.
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