April consumer confidence jumps
Consumer confidence rose more than 12 points in April to 39.2 (1985=100), compared with 26.9 in March, according to a recent Conference Board report. The Board’s Present Situation Index increased to 23.7 in April from 21.9 for the previous month, while its Expectations Index jumped more than 19 points to 49.5 in April compared with 30.2 in March.

"Consumer confidence rose in April to its highest reading in 2009, driven primarily by a significant improvement in the short-term outlook,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The Present Situation Index posted a moderate gain, a sign that conditions have not deteriorated further, and may even moderately improve, in the second quarter. The sharp increase in the Expectations Index suggests that consumers believe the economy is nearing a bottom, however, this Index still remains well below levels associated with strong economic growth."

Consumers' short-term outlook improved significantly in April. Those anticipating business conditions will worsen over the next six months declined to 25.3 percent from 37.8 percent, according to the report, while those expecting conditions to improve increased to 15.6 percent from 9.6 percent in March.

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