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Posted on Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 9:51 a.m.

Thomson Reuters agrees to suspend early release of U-M consumer sentiment index

By Ben Freed

Thomson Reuters Corp. has voluntarily agreed to suspend the early release of a consumer sentiment survey conducted by the University of Michigan while the New York Attorney General’s office investigates the practice, a story on Bloomberg Businessweek reported.


Thomson Reuters will continue to release the University of Michigan produced survey to its clients at 9:55 a.m. but will not give the information to special subscribers two seconds early.

Bloomberg reports that Thomson Reuters will now distribute the survey to all clients at 9:55 a.m. The company had previously released the index of consumer sentiment, which is produced by University of Michigan economists and paid for entirely by Thomson Reuters, to select clients at 9:54:58 a.m., affording a two second head start to the higher-tiered subscribers. The survey is released to the public at 10:00 a.m.

According to the survey's website, over 500 phone interviews are conducted every month to determine consumer sentiment in regard to personal finances, business conditions and buying conditions. The survey was founded in 1946 by University of Michigan professor George Katona.

The New York attorney general is investigating whether this tiered system constitutes a violation of insider trading regulations, according to the Bloomberg report. When news of the tiered system was first released in June, university spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald told CNBC that U-M’s arrangement with Thomson Reuters complied with regulations and that the index is produced with private funds.

Read the full article from Bloomberg Businessweek.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

"The New York attorney general is investigating whether this tiered system constitutes a violation of insider trading regulations, according to the Bloomberg report." Insignificant slap on the wrist coming in 3.. 2.. 1..

Kai Petainen

Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 6:27 p.m. "It's Not Just Thomson Reuters – Elite Investors Get Tons of Unfair Advantages: Blodget" ""It is definitely a PR move," says the Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget. "I think they were forced into it."


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

The Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) is derived from the following five questions: "We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?" "Now looking ahead--do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now?" "Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole--do you think that during the next twelve months we'll have good times financially, or bad times, or what?" "Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely--that in the country as a whole we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, or that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what?" "About the big things people buy for their homes--such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a good or bad time for people to buy major household items?" I don't see why people are outraged over this. Anyone could do a survey like this and trade on the information they learn. I don't think it'd even be illegal if they sold the survey results and never released it to the public. They spend their money doing research, why shouldn't they be able to earn money for publishing the results of their research? Anyone is free to purchase or abstain from the 2-seconds-early option. What's the problem?


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Do those two esteemed economist from the UM Astrology Department call cellphone numbers too or just the 1% class landlines to conduct their (random) field survey? Every reader knows by now that the economy is pushing full steam ahead. Sometimes upstream. Sometimes downstream. Always ahead until the gas runs out. Because the DOW is at record highs. And the FED's Naked Shorted Gold at record lows. And A2 Houses selling out like flapjacks to investors. And the record 36 Ann Arbor area jobs still available for a short time only at a popular temp agency. All will tell those consumers that life is good and that its time to go shopping! Whoopee !


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

2 seconds is an eternity when it comes to the stock market. That kind of head start means billions.


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

ThomsonReuters, anything for a buck. They get acclaim for being "one of Ann Arbor's largest employers" yet they shifted 500 jobs to India. Why don't we ever hear about that? As far as I'm concerned they are just another big company that believes they can write their own rules.


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

@flexorz: Healthcare not the only TR business in Ann Arbor. They have a huge facility in Dexter, and another one in Avis Farms. Look closer, you'll find those jobs.


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 5:36 p.m. Thomson Reuters sold their Healthcare business unit to a US-based venture capital firm a little over a year ago, and zero jobs were "shifted to India" due to the sale.

Linda Peck

Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

This is comical to me, but taken very seriously by some apparently.