US consumer confidence soared in April after four months of decline as Americans took an upbeat view of the economy after war in Iraq ended within weeks and casualties were limited, a survey said today.
The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 81.0 in April from 61.4 in March, the Conference Board, a private business research group, said in a release.
Economists on average had expected the index to rise to 69.8. Consumer confidence is closely watched by economists and businesses for clues about consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of the US economy.
US stock prices jumped on the positive consumer outlook, while the dollar surged to session highs and US Treasury prices, already weak ahead of the data, fell further.
The increase of 19.6 points in April is the third largest monthly increase in the confidence index's history, which began in 1967.
The second largest increase occurred in March 1991, after the end of the Gulf War, when the index surged 21.7 points. The biggest increase - a rise of 32.4 points - came in April 1974 when the Arab oil embargo was lifted, the Conference Board said.