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US consumer comfort rises to fresh high amid robust job market
[WASHINGTON] Sentiment among American consumers climbed to a fresh 18-year high, with assessments of the buying climate and personal finances nearing record levels as the job market and equities extend gains.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index climbed 0.9 point to 64.7 in the week ended July 14. Americans' also reported stronger economic expectations, with that monthly gauge advancing to an eight-month high of 55 from 50.5.
The weekly index advanced closer to its all-time high amid unemployment near a half-century low and the S&P 500 index surpassing the 3,000 level for the first time. US retail sales and factory output both topped estimates in June and could also be supporting greater optimism about the outlook for the world's largest economy, while an anticipated Federal Reserve interest-rate cut could also aid growth.
The weekly comfort indexes for the buying climate and personal finances both rose to their highest levels since 2000, within 1 point of their records in data going back to 1985.
Several measures rose to their highest levels since 2000 or 2001, including women, age groups 18-34 and 45-54, the Northeast, black Americans, Democrats, independents, singles, people who are not employed, and those who are separated, widowed or divorced.
Sentiment among those with household incomes less than $50,000 a year climbed to 56.1, the highest in data since 2010 and up about 10 points since mid-May.