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Thu Sep 13, 2012, 10:32 AM

Consumer Comfort in U.S. Advanced Last Week Most Since December [View all]

Consumer confidence in the U.S. rose last week by the most since December as higher stock prices made Americans more secure about their finances.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index climbed to a five-week high of minus 42.2 in the period ended Sept. 9 from minus 46.5. Forty-seven percent of respondents rated their finances positively, the largest share since early August, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index posted its biggest weekly gain in almost three months.

A growing number of households who consider their financial situations sound may help maintain the pace of consumer spending, which makes up about 70 percent of the economy. At the same time, persistent joblessness and rising gasoline prices may limit the pace of purchases.

“The gain was apparently a function of increased stock market performance,” said Richard Yamarone, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “However, consumers are still plagued by lofty unemployment and rising prices at the pump. The index is struggling to improve, which does not bode well for future consumer spending.”



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