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The Consumer Confidence Index hit 113.7 in December. Its highest level since August 2001. The increase in consumer confidence was due solely to increasing expectations which hit a 13-year high. Consumers' assessment of current conditions declined slightly.  Those saying business conditions are "good" was essentially flat at 29.2%. and those saying they are "bad" moved up from 15.2% to 17.3%. Those saying jobs are "plentiful" dipped to 26.9% and those saying jobs are scarce climbed to 22.5%. (The Conference Board)

 

Consumer spending in the final days of the Christmas shopping season offset a slow start.  Early holiday promotions and expectations among consumers that deals would always be available took a toll. Spending over the Thanksgiving weekend in November fell 3.5% from a year ago.  Brick-and-mortar sales in the week ending 12/24 rose 6.5% year-over-year.  November through Christmas Eve retail sales were up 4%.  (Reuters)

 

We should expect this in our consumption culture. More than half of Americans say they don't like at least one of the gifts they got for Christmas. The average cost of that unwanted gift is about $31 or $9.5 billion in total. Only one-quarter exchange the items, 20% regift them, and fewer than 5% donate their them to charity. (CNBC)

 

S&P 500 is up 1 and the NASDAQ is up 11. MSCI International Index is flat.

Oil is down 25 cents at $53.64 a barrel.

Gold is up $2 at $1141 a Troy ounce.

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