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April 28, 2004

Consumer Confidence Surges

For some time, we've seen confidence climb, only to be knocked back down after a disappointing jobs report. Confidence would climb, heralding a quickening recovery; but then the jobs report would undermine that confidence, delaying a full-scale boom.

But finally both jobs and confidence seem to be in good sync, and they might finally begin reinforcing each other:

NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- U.S. stocks were solidly higher at midday Tuesday, boosted by bullish news on consumer confidence and home sales as well as another dose of good earnings numbers.

"On the fundamental side, it's a pretty positive backdrop here," said Joe Liro, equity strategist at Stone & McCarthy. "We have a solid economy, a Fed that still shows signs of being relatively patient ... and you've got just absolutely great earnings numbers."

...


The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index improved to 92.9 in April from 88.5 in March while the number of Americans who said jobs were hard to get fell to its lowest level since November 2002. Wall Street economists expected the index to remain steady at about 88.7, according to a survey conducted by. See Economic Report.

News on existing home sales was also good with the National Association of Realtors reporting that sales rose 5.7 percent in March to 6.48 million units, well ahead of economists' forecasts for a 1 percent rise to 6.18 million units.

"Today, for some reason, the fact that we got strong economic numbers didn't seem to rattle investors about the prospects of higher rates," Liro said.


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