Originally created 12/29/04

Consumer confidence jumps in December

NEW YORK - Consumer confidence jumped in December, reversing four months of declines and reaching the highest level since July, a private research group reported Tuesday.

The Conference Board, a New York based business information group, reported that its index of consumer confidence leapt by nearly 10 points, a significant move, to 102.3 in December from 92.6 in November. It was the highest level for the indicator since its reading of 105.7 in July.

The upbeat reading ends the year on a high note and bodes well for consumer spending going into 2005. The indicator of consumer confidence is widely watched by economists since spending by individuals makes up about two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States.

The monthly survey of consumer confidence is based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households.

The sharp rise provided a lift for stocks. In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points to 10,825.


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