Consumer Confidence: Upside Surprise

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Consumer confidence saw a surprise jump in August, giving investors much investors a much needed sign that the economy is not headed for a double-dip.

The Conference Board's reading of consumer confidence reached 53.5, better than economists forecast of 50.5 for the month.

The present situation index, a gauge of consumers' assessment of current economic conditions, fell to 24.9 from a revised 26.4 in July, while consumer expectations about the future rebounded to 72.5 in August, after plunging to a revised 67.5.

Retail stocks are recovering some of yesterday's losses, with the S&P Retail Index gaining 0.8% to 400.03 in morning trading.

Still, the August level is nothing to get too excited about. While the move reversed the last two months of declines, it remains at similar levels to those during the height of the recession. It is generally agreed that a level of 90 in consumer confidence to signal a true recovery in the economy.

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