Consumer confidence up in US but housing market shaky

CONSUMER confidence in January hit its highest level since September 2008 in the US, according to new data.

A decline in job losses in recent months and a resurgent stock market have helped improve consumers' mood after the US recession that ended last year.

Yet concerns remain about the sustainability of the recovery after the most severe housing market downturn and highest unemployment in more than a quarter century.

US consumer confidence rose for the third straight month in January – driven mostly by an improvement in present-day conditions, according to industrial group the Conference Board.

It said its index of consumer attitudes rose to 55.9 in January from an upwardly revised 53.6 in December.

The data also showed consumers' expectations are at their highest in more than two years.

However, US home prices slipped unexpectedly in November in the latest sign that a rebound in the U.S. housing market is tenuous, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller indexes.

The S&P composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas slipped 0.2 per cent in November after a revised 0.1 per cent October dip, for a 5.3 percent annual drop.