U.S. consumer confidence improved in December, offering some hope for retailers during the key holiday season.
The University of Michigan preliminary December sentiment index rose to 91.8 from a final November reading of 91.3. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted the early December index would rise to 92.0.
"While the preliminary December reading was largely unchanged from last month, consumers evaluated current economic conditions more favorably and expected future prospects less favorably," 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.
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