For the second straight month, consumer confidence edged higher. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 52.9 in December from an upwardly revised 50.6 in November.
The reading was a shade below the 53.0 expected by most analysts. The private research firm initially reported the November figure at 49.5.
The December "present situation" sub-index fell to 18.8 from 21.2 in November, a fresh 26-year low.
The expectations sub-index, which measures confidence over the next six months, rose to 75.6 from 70.3.
"A more optimistic outlook for business and labor market conditions was the driving force behind the increase in the expectations index," said Lynn Franco, research director at The Conference Board.
"Regarding income, however, consumers remain rather pessimistic about their short-term prospects and this will likely continue to play a key role in spending decisions in early 2010."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009