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U.S. consumer confidence jumps to highest level since 2001

Staff Writer |
U.S. consumer confidence shot to its highest in more than 15 years in December.

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The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 113.7 this month from an upwardly revised 109.4 in November.

That topped estimates in a Reuters poll for a reading of 109.0, and was the highest since August 2001.

The gain in confidence was entirely due to rising expectations as consumers' assessments of current conditions dipped, and was led by surging optimism among older Americans, Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

The private economic forecasting group's Expectations Index hit its highest since December 2003.

The modest pullback in current conditions "still suggests that economic growth continued through the final months of 2016," Franco said.

"Looking ahead to 2017, consumers' continued optimism will depend on whether or not their expectations are realized."

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