US consumer confidence to boost economy

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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US CONSUMERS are feeling confident, according to figures released yesterday by the Conference Board.

The research group’s confidence index jumped to 101.2 in March from February’s 98.8.

“This month’s increase was driven by an improved short-term outlook for both employment and income prospects” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

“The consumer confidence report points to a more upbeat outlook for the recovery ahead,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York. Economic activity at the start of the year was dented by strikes at ports on the West Coast and poor weather conditions.

Meanwhile, US home prices rose 0.6 per cent in January, according to the Case-Shiller index released yesterday. Year-on-year growth edged down to 4.5 per cent from 4.6 per cent. “The combination of low interest rates and strong consumer confidence based on solid job growth, cheap oil and low inflation continue to support further increases in home prices,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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