Consumer Sentiment Rebounds After October Tumble

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Consumer Spending

(AP)

U.S. consumer confidence rose for the second straight month in November, offering hope for retailers as they head into the holiday season.

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The University of Michigan preliminary November sentiment index rose to 93.1 from a final October reading of 90.0. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted the early November index would rise to 91.5.

A tumbling stock market had pushed the index to a 2015 low of 87.2 in September after reaching a high of 96.1 in June.

"Confidence rose in early November mainly due to a stronger outlook for the domestic economy," said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist.

Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of overall economic output in the U.S., and retailers are hoping continued low gasoline prices and a robust job market will propel shoppers into their stores. A recent report showed the U.S. economy added 271,000 jobs in October, after two months of slowing job growth.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales will rise 3.7%, only slightly less than last year's 4.1% gain. But retail sales rose just 0.1% in October, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

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The final reading for the month will be released on Nov. 25.

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