Shoppers seen in Midtown Manhattan, New York. Photo: AFP
Shoppers seen in Midtown Manhattan, New York. Photo: AFP

Consumer sentiment rose in early February to the highest level since its peak last recorded in 2007, according to a gauge released Friday by the University of Michigan.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment came in at 99.9, up from 95.7 in January. The number was up 3.7% from the same period a year earlier.

Despite wild gyrations in the stock market, perception was boosted by “rising incomes, employment growth, and by net favorable perceptions of the tax reforms,” Richard Curtain, chief economist for the survey, wrote.

“Indeed, when asked to identify any recent economic news they had heard, negative references to stock prices were spontaneously cited by just 6% of all consumers. In contrast, favorable references to government policies were cited by 35% in February, unchanged from January, and the highest level recorded in more than a half century,” Curtain added.

The reading beat economists’ expectations of 95.0, according to The Wall Street Journal.