The Consumer Confidence Index rose in January to 55.9 (1985=100) compared with 53.6 in December, the Conference Board reported yesterday. The Present Situation Index increased to 25 in January from 20.2 in December, and the Expectations Index increased to 76.5 from 75.9 last month, according to the report.

“Consumer Confidence rose for the third consecutive month, primarily the result of an improvement in present-day conditions,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.  “Consumers' short-term outlook, while moderately more positive, does not suggest any significant pickup in activity in the coming months. Regarding their financial situation, while consumers were less dire about their income prospects than in December, the number of pessimists continues to outnumber the optimists."

Consumers' assessment of current conditions was more positive in January than in December, with those claiming business conditions are "bad" increasing to 46.1 percent in January from 45.7 percent in December, while those claiming conditions are "good" increased to 9 percent in January compared with 7.5 percent in December. Consumers' appraisal of the job market improved moderately, and their short-term outlook was mixed, according to the report.

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