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U.S. Consumer Confidence Improves Slightly In February

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Data released by the Conference Board on Tuesday showed consumer confidence in the U.S. improved slightly in the month of February.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index inched up to 130.7 in February from a downwardly revised 130.4 in January. Economists had expected the index to tick up to 132.5 from the 131.6 originally reported for the previous month.

The modest increase by the headline index came as the expectations index surged up to 107.8 in February from 101.4 in January.

On the other hand, the report said the present situation index tumbled to 165.1 in February from 173.9 in the previous month.

"Despite the decline in the Present Situation Index, consumers continue to view current conditions quite favorably," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board.

She added, "Consumers' short-term expectations improved, and when coupled with solid employment growth, should be enough to continue to support spending and economic growth in the near term."

The jump by the expectations index came as the percentage of consumers expecting business conditions will improve over the next six months rose to 20.4 percent from 18.4 percent, while those expecting conditions will worsen dipped to 7.4 percent from 8.6 percent.

The Conference Board said consumes expecting more jobs in the months ahead edged down to 16.2 percent from 16.5 percent, but those anticipating fewer jobs also slipped to 11.1 percent from 12.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said consumers claiming current business conditions are "good" fell to 38.6 percent from 40.0 percent and those claiming business conditions are "bad" increased to 11.9 percent from 10.4 percent.

Consumers' assessment of the job market also moderated, with those saying jobs are "plentiful" dropping to 44.6 percent from 47.2 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" rose to 14.8 percent from 11.9 percent.

On Friday, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised reading on consumer sentiment in the month of February.

The consumer sentiment index for February is currently expected to be unrevised from the preliminary reading of 100.9, which was up from the final January reading of 99.8.

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