Consumers The preliminary sentiment reading for September increased to 57.8 from 55.7 in August. The August reading was the lowest level since November 2008 with Washington’s protracted debt-ceiling negotiations taking a toll on consumers. “The mood of Americans remains dark so far this month, but not as dark as in August. Not that they can be blamed. Their country lost its triple A status (although it was one major ratings agency, not all), recession fears continue to reverberate, house prices aren’t improving, and neither are job prospects,” wrote Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, in a research note.