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Report: U.S. consumer confidence rises most since 2003

Washington, D.C. -- A report released Tuesday by the Conference Board showed that consumer confidence experienced its biggest gain in more than eight years, jumping to 56 in November from a revised 40.9 reading in the month prior. The leap was the biggest since April 2003 and exceeded the most optimistic forecast by Bloomberg News.

The improvement in consumer attitude may help sustain household purchases, which account for about 70% of the economy, after sales climbed on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“We are seeing confidence returning to the ranges it’s been in the past two years in this lukewarm recovery,” Guy Berger, an economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Conn., told Bloomberg. He added that while the data is consistent with the gains in holiday retail sales, “it doesn’t bode for a further acceleration in spending, but more of the same.”

The Conference Board’s confidence gauge climbed to the highest level since July. And the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment rose to 64.1 this month, the highest since June.

The median projection in the Bloomberg survey called for a confidence reading of 44.

U.S. shoppers spent a record $52.4 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend. Retail sales climbed 16%, and shoppers spent $398.62 on average, up from $365.34 a year earlier, according to the National Retail Federation, citing a survey from BIGresearch.
 

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