Consumer sentiment with the U.S. increased slightly in early October, reaching its highest level since April. According to the University of Michigan preliminary estimate of its consumer sentiment index, consumers are slightly more optimistic with the index hitting 59.8 in October, up from 58.6 in September. The index measuring American consumer assessment of current economic conditions increased to 65.3 from 59.7 last month, but expectations for the short term fell to 56.2 down almost 6 whole points from the September mark of 58.0. And the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported yesterday that the US economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.6 percent in the 4th quarter of 2022, up from declines of 1.6 percent and 0.6 percent in the 2nd and 3rd quarters respectively. A strong surge in exports was largely responsible for the overall improvement.