A gauge of consumer sentiment rose in January more than Wall Street had expected, but overall levels remained relatively low with respondents concerned over higher payroll taxes.
The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters sentiment gauge rose to a January reading of 73.8, up from 72.9 in December. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a final January reading of 71.5, compared with a preliminary reading of 71.3, with higher payroll taxes continuing to weigh on consumers' moods.
"The end of the payroll tax holiday had a significant impact on consumer confidence, especially among lower-income households," said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist.
Consumer confidence continued to slip in January, falling to its lowest level since November 2011, the Conference Board said Tuesday.
The group's monthly Consumer Confidence Index fell to 58.6 in January, down 8.1 points from the month before.
"Consumer confidence posted another sharp decline in January, erasing all of the gains made through 2012," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators, in a statement.