The nation
’s consumers grew slightly more confident in December despite underlying concerns about the health of the economy.

The Conference Board said on Thursday that its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 88.6 in December from a revised 87.8 in November. It was the first increase since July.

The nation’s consumers grew slightly more confident in December despite underlying concerns about the health of the economy.

The Conference Board said on Thursday that its Consumer Confidence Index increased to 88.6 in December from a revised 87.8 in November. It was the first increase since July.

Wall Street expected a slight drop to a reading of 87.0, according to Thomson/IFR.

Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said that the gain in the overall index “was due solely to an increase in the expectations index.”

This reading, which measures consumers’ outlook over the next six months, rose to 75.5 in December from 69.1 the month before.

“Consumers’ short-term outlook regarding business conditions, employment, inflation and stock prices improved marginally,” Ms. Franco said.

Still, she added: “Persistent declines in the present situation index indicate the economy is still losing momentum.”

That index, which measures how consumers feel now about the economy, has been weakening since July and fell again in December to 108.3 from 115.7 the month before.



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