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Consumer Confidence Climbs
Friday, March 22, 2013 6:30 AM


Confidence among U.S. consumers climbed for a sixth straight week to the highest level since April 2012, as a rally in stock prices and improving job market boosted Americans’ view of their finances.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index advanced to minus 31.6 in the week ended March 10 from minus 32.4 in the prior period. The gauge of personal finances reached an eight-month high. It should be noted that the gauge is still in negative territory, indicating that confidence is building but consumers are still cautious.

A pickup in employment and the longest rally in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1996 may keep lifting sentiment, sustaining the unexpected strength in consumer spending seen so far this year. Gains in asset values, including the rebound in home prices, shows Federal Reserve stimulus policies aimed at helping Americans repair tattered finances are paying off.

Another report today showed the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined last week to the lowest level in almost two months, adding to signs the labor market is strengthening.

The CCI is reported in a four-week rolling average; based on telephone interviews among a random national sample of 1,000 adults in the four weeks ending March 10. The results have a 3-point error margin.

(Source: Bloomberg Newsline)