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RISMEDIA, December 31, 2009—(MCT)-Consumer confidence rose for the second straight month as more Americans expect the nation’s economy to improve in 2010, the Conference Board reported recently.

The New York-based research organization’s confidence index climbed to 52.9 for December 2009, up from a revised 50.6 in November. Confidence had been expected to rise to 54.0 compared with November’s original reading of 49.5, according to a MarketWatch survey of economists.

The Conference Board’s Expectations Index jumped to 75.6 from 70.3 in November, reflecting more optimism about the future. Yet the Present Situation index, a gauge of how consumers feel now, fell to 18.8 from 21.2—and remained at a 26-year low.

“In general, the survey suggests that individuals are more optimistic about where the economy is headed than where it stands today,” said Jim Baird, chief investment strategist for Plante Moran Financial Advisors. Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s consumer research center, agreed. She said consumers are “rather pessimistic about their short-term prospects.”

(c) 2009, MarketWatch.com Inc.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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