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Consumer confidence improves in June

Survey shows newfound sense of long-term economic stability

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Consumer confidence improved in June despite rising interest rates and high gas prices, according to a survey released today. The Index of Consumer Sentiment was 84.9 in the June 2006 survey, up from 79.1 in May, but well below the 96 recorded in June of 2005, according to the University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers. Most of the June gain was in consumers' evaluations of current economic conditions, and most of the loss compared with a year ago was in consumers' future economic prospects. The Index of Consumer Expectations, a closely watched component of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators, rose slightly to 72 in June from 68.2 in May, but remained significantly below the 85 recorded in June of 2005. In comparison, the Current Economic Conditions Index rose to 105 in June 2006, up significantly from 96.1 in May, but remained somewhat below the 113.2 in June of 2005. "Rather than a free-fall in confidence that has sparked recessions in the past, consumers have demonstrated ...