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Thu Feb 16, 2012, 12:55 PM

U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises to Highest Level in Year [View all]

Consumer confidence in the U.S. increased for a fourth straight week to reach the highest level in a year as more households believe the economy is improving.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 39.8 in the period ended Feb. 12 from minus 41.7 the previous week. It marked just the third time since April 2008 that the gauge has climbed above minus 40, a reading consistent with recessions or their aftermath. The monthly expectations gauge climbed to minus 7 in February, also a 12-month high.

Sentiment among those without a job was the strongest since April 2008, showing news of payroll gains and fewer job cuts is even lifting the spirits of households that have yet to benefit from the recovery. Higher stock prices so far this year may also be giving confidence a boost, helping offset rising fuel prices.

“Rising incomes, a slower pace of firings in the economy and a modest wealth effect due to the near bull market in equities likely combined to create the conditions that sent economic pessimism to its lowest reading in over a year,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York.

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-16/consumer-comfort-rises-to-highest-level-in-year.html

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