Investing.com - U.S. consumer confidence in December improved to the highest level since August 2001, boosting optimism over the health of the economy and supporting the case for higher interest rates, industry data showed on Tuesday.
The Conference Board, a market research group, said its consumer confidence index jumped to 113.7 this month from a reading of 109.4 in November, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported 107.1. Analysts expected the index to fall to 109.0 in December.
The Expectations Index increased sharply from 94.4 to 105.5, but the Present Situation Index decreased from 132.0 last month to 126.1.
Commenting on the report, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center Lynn Franco said, "The post-election surge in optimism for the economy, jobs and income prospects, as well as for stock prices which reached a 13-year high, was most pronounced among older consumers."
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey , based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 15.
EUR/USD was trading at 1.0455 from around 1.0450 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.2263 from 1.2260 earlier, while USD/JPY was at 117.51 from 117.55 earlier.
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 103.03, compared to 103.06 ahead of the report.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets were higher after the open. The Dow 30 rose 0.2%, the S&P 500 tacked on 0.35%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.8%.
Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,139.20 a troy ounce, compared to $1,139.00 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $53.64 a barrel from $53.61 earlier.
Investing.com offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
Read more News on Investing.com and download the new Investing.com apps for Android and iOS! http://glocdn.investing.com/news/LYNXMPEABT0IN_M.jpg © Reuters.