Consumer confidence rises in April (by Ruth Mantell)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Consumer confidence rose in April, after a large drop in March, as inflation expectations somewhat eased, according to data released Tuesday by the Conference Board. The confidence index hit 65.4 in April, compared with an upwardly revised 63.8 in March. Consumers' 12-month inflation expectations declined to 6.3% in April from 6.7% in March. "Consumers' short-term outlook improved slightly," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's consumer research center. "Although confidence remains weak, consumers' assessment of current conditions gained ground for the seventh straight month, a sign that the economic recovery continues." Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an April reading of 65. The Conference Board's index helps analysts compare fluctuations in confidence, with a reading of 100 for the base year of 1985. Generally when the economy is growing at a good clip, confidence readings are at 90 and above.