Page last updated at 20:53 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 21:53 UK

Consumer confidence buoys market

House under construction
There are still few signs of recovery in the US housing market

US shares have risen after a survey suggested US consumer confidence was at its highest level since last September.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 54.9 for May from 40.8 last month - well beyond the average 42.3 predicted by economists.

The indicator is being closely watched as a guide to whether consumers are likely to start shopping again.

The Dow Jones added 2.4%, despite other data showing record house price falls in the first quarter of 2009.

The Conference Board index suggested consumer confidence had hit its highest level since last September.

That was when the collapse of Lehman Brothers accelerated the global financial crisis.

No recovery signs

House prices fell by 19.1% in the first three months of the year from the same time last year, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller National Home Price index suggested.

It also showed home prices had fallen 32.2% since peaking in the second quarter of 2006.

However, it suggested that the pace of month-on-month declines had slowed.

The housing index, which looks at 20 key cities, saw prices fall by 18.7% in March from the year before.

These declines were slightly better than February's falls, and it was the second straight month that indexes did not post record drops.

But there were still no signs that home prices had hit the bottom, said David M Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.

"We see no evidence that a recovery in home prices has begun," he said.



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