U.S. Consumer Confidence Surges, Home Sales Slip

By Agence France-Presse U.S. consumer confidence, bucked up by a brighter jobs market, surged to a more than two-year high in July, a survey by the Conference Board showed July 27. A consumer confidence index, compiled from a survey of 5,000 households, rose 3.3 points from the previous month to 106.1 in July, the economic research group said. It was the highest level since June 2002. "Consumer confidence has now increased for four consecutive months," said Conference Board consumer research chief Lynn Franco. "The spring turnaround has been fueled by gains in employment and unless the job market sours, consumer confidence should continue to post solid gains," she said. While consumer confidence rose, sales of new U.S. homes slipped in June, a sign that higher mortgage rates may be starting to cool the red-hot housing market. New home sales fell 0.8% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.33 million, the Conference Board said. Compared with last year, however, sales were up 11.1%. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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