This just in: CEO Chris Shuba on Schwab Network

Consumer sentiment unexpectedly dropped in February preliminary readings. Expectations were for a slight increase, from 79.0 to 80.9, but came in nearly 3 points lower than January, at 76.2. Future expectations were the primary driver of the decline, with a sharp partisan divide, with outlooks among Republicans sharply declining while slightly increasing among Democrats.

Inflation continues to remain muted in the environment with Core CPI up 0.3% over the prior month. In recent history housing has kept core inflation figures relatively stable, but has contributed less in recent months with some weakness seen in the sector.

Initial jobless claims came in at 793K and the week’s prior figure was revised upward from 779K to 812K.