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Consumers, Housing Getting Stronger as Congress Works on ‘Cliff’

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Higher home prices are making for slightly happier consumers, a trend that is helping holiday sales and other consumer-driven parts of the economy, while business sits on the sidelines, worrying about the "fiscal cliff."

That trend should be apparent in the S&P/Case-Shiller home price data for September, released at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday. It is expected to show an annual return of three percent in the 20-city index. for November is released at 10 a.m., and it is also expected to rise, but the question is how much was it or anxieties about the election or fiscal cliff.

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"I've been somewhat surprised at how healthy consumer confidence has been over the last few months because the fundamental indicators haven't been fantastic," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities. "It's not like the economy accelerated rapidly. I do think better housing is helping."