Consumer sentiment improves

NEW YORK — U.S. consumer confidence rose more than forecast in December, to a six-month high, amid declining unemployment and lower gas prices.  The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index climbed to 69.9 from 64.1 at the end of November.   The metric averaged 89 points in the five years leading up to the recession.

In other news. The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months rose a better-than-expected 0.5% after a 0.9%  October increase. The median forecast of 54 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected the gauge would advance 0.3%.

Also up was the University of Michigan’s survey of consumer expectations for six months from now, which rose to 63.6 in December, compared to 55.4 last month, marking the fourth straight gain and the biggest point increase in a single month since May.
 

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