US house prices fall but confidence rises

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The Independent Online

There was mixed news on the US economy last night as new data showed that city house prices had dropped for a sixth consecutive month in December, but consumer confidence had climbed to a three-year high in February.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of house prices in 20 US cities fell by 0.4 per cent in December from November. That leaves the annual decline in prices at 2.4 per cent, slightly higher than the 2.3 per cent pullback pencilled in by economists. Stripping out seasonal adjustments, prices were down 1 per cent in December.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board industry group said its index of consumer attitudes had climbed to 70.4 in February, up from a revised 64.8 in January, indicating optimism among American consumers. The reading was the highest since February 2008, and well ahead of analysts' hopes.