The preliminary consumer sentiment survey from Reuters & the University of Michigan improved half a point to 61.7, following the previous month's near five-point rebound. Also, one-year inflation expectations moved down to 4.8% from July's 5.1% forecast.

The consensus was for the survey to improve to 62.0.

Details of the report were mixed as one component moved up but the other reported a more pessimistic view on the current conditions.

The economic conditions index moved down to 69.3 from the prior month's 73.1 while the economic outlook index moved up to 56.8 from July's 53.5 reading.

Five-year inflation expectations remained at 3.2% after hitting a cyclical peak of 3.4% in both May and June.

The slight improvement contrasts with the recent deterioration in the weekly survey of consumer comfort from ABC News. The survey dropped to -50, just a single point away from its record low, as only 18% of Americans said it was a good time to spend money.

The Michigan sentiment survey is the first monthly look at consumer confidence for August.

By Patrick McGee and edited by Nancy Girgis