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Consumer confidence spikes to three-year high

By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Consumer confidence surpassed expectations and hit a three-year high in February, in the latest ray of hope for an economic recovery, a business research group said Tuesday.

The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 70.4 in February from 64.8 in January. That was far ahead of expectations of a Briefing.com economists' consensus of a 67 reading.

Lynn Franco, director of the board's Consumer Research Center, said the CPI spiked "due to growing optimism about the short-term future."

"Consumers' assessments of current business and labor market conditions has improved moderately, but still remains rather weak," Franco said. "Looking ahead, consumers are more positive about the economy and their income prospects, but feel somewhat mixed about employment conditions."

The CPI's forward-looking Expectations Index also rose, to 95.1 from 87.3 in January. To top of page

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