US consumer confidence jumps in November

New York shopper
Image caption Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of economic activity in the US

US consumer confidence has again reached the highest level in four-and-a-half years, according to a survey.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 73.7 in November from 73.1 in October. Both are the best readings since February 2008.

The gain was largely due to improvements in the US jobs market.

The index is seen as an important economic indicator because consumer spending accounts for about 70% of overall economic activity in the US.

Separate data from Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller showed that house prices increased in September in most major US cities, adding more evidence of a housing recovery.

And another survey indicated that US companies in October increased their orders of machinery and equipment by the largest amount in five months, another hopeful sign for economic growth in the world's largest economy.

Orders for core capital goods, considered a proxy for business investment, rose 1.7% in October, the Commerce Department said, the best showing since May. Orders in this category had slowed since spring, acting as a drag on overall economic growth.

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