U.S. Consumer Comfort Rises to Five-Month High on Economic Views

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(Bloomberg) -- Confidence among U.S. consumers climbed to the highest level in five months as Americans grew more optimistic about the economy and their personal finances.

Bloomberg’s index of consumer comfort rose 1.6 points, the most since June, to 63.9 in the week ended Dec. 29, according to a report Thursday. The gauge for the state of the economy also hit a five-month high and the reading for personal finances increased to the best level in three months.

Key Insights

  • The sixth increase in seven weeks capped a year in which U.S. stocks ended near record levels after the best annual advance since 2013, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times, unemployment dropped to a five-decade low and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China cooled in December.
  • The index of views on the economy climbed to 68.3 after posting a 4.5 point gain in two weeks, the biggest increase in more than two years.
  • The report follows mixed readings on other measures of the consumer pulse in December. The University of Michigan sentiment index climbed to a seven-month high, while the Conference Board’s confidence gauge fell for the fourth time in five months.

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  • The comfort index for those with incomes ranging from $75,000 to $100,000 rose to a record.
  • Comfort readings for those 65 and older, college graduates, home owners and those who are not employed were all at the highest levels since 2000.

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