NEW YORK – Based on latest reports, the Thomson Reuters-Michigan University consumer-sentiment gauge soared to a final reading this month of 78.7 — the biggest mark since four months ago — from a final reading of 77.6 in February.

Economists surveyed had anticipated a final reading of 73 for the current month, with worries regarding the economic rulings of government taking a toll.

An initial reading pegged for the current month is at 71.7. While share prices have been increasing, consumers also dealt with worrisome news on the huge spending cuts by government comprising the sequester.

The measurement of sentiment, which concerns how consumers look at their personal spending and even buying behavior, averaged about 86.5 for 2013 before the beginning of the most recent economic recession.

Economists monitor sentiment information to get an overall concept for the path of consumer budget and spending.