U.S. consumer sentiment has taken an unexpected downward turn this month, with the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index easing to 83.9 from 84.1 in June. Looking ahead, however, economists see improvement. "It's a slip in confidence from recent highs rather than the start of a new downward. As we get later in the year and the economy improves, consumers will start to see better numbers and they'll notice that," said Gennadiy Goldberg, a TD Securities strategist.

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