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Consumer Confidence

US consumer confidence improves in April

Key Points
  • American consumers are feeling more confident this month, though optimism hasn't fully recovered from a period of roiling markets and slowed hiring early this year.
  • The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 129.2 in April, from 124.2 in March.
People shopping at a Costco store
Scott McIntyre | Bloomberg | Getty Images

American consumers are feeling more confident this month, though optimism hasn't fully recovered from a period of roiling markets and slowed hiring early this year.

The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 129.2 in April, from 124.2 in March.

The index, covering the month through April 18, measures consumers' assessment of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Both rose in April.

Economists pay close attention to the index because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The index slipped in March amid roiling financial markets and a February employment that showed hiring had tumbled. U.S. employers added only 20,000 jobs, the smallest monthly gain in nearly a year and a half.

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Real Estate

Pending home sales jumped 3.8% in March, thanks to a big dip in mortgage rates

Key Points
  • House shoppers signed 3.8% more contracts to buy existing homes in March compared with February, according to the National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index.
  • Sales were 1.2% lower compared with March 2018, the 15th straight month of annual declines.
  • Buyers had added incentive in March, as mortgage rates plummeted to the lowest level in more than a year.