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November 29, 2011 15:51 ET

BMO Economics: U.S. Consumer Confidence Strengthening, But Housing Prices Still Weak

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2011) - Today's announcement of a 15.1 percentage point rise in the U.S. Conference Board's consumer confidence index - the biggest monthly gain since April 2003 - is an indicator of a stronger jobs report this coming Friday, according to a report from BMO Economics.

"Considering what a rough month it has been on equity markets and all of the worrying headlines coming from across the Atlantic, this is an impressive result," said Jennifer Lee, Vice President and Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "In the face of the turmoil overseas, Americans clearly stood up straight and became much more confident this month. Much more."

While this represented great news for consumers, the S&P Case-Shiller house price index - also released today - showed a continuation of depressed prices. "Home prices in the top 20 metropolitan areas fell 0.6% from August, the fifth straight drop, or 3.6% below a year ago," noted Ms. Lee. "Although this is the slowest annual decline since February, the pace of improvement is very slow. Of the 20 largest metro areas, only Washington, Dallas, New York, Charlotte and Portland saw prices rise in September from the prior month."

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