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Consumer confidence leaps to 56 in November

Consumer confidence leaps to 56 in November (by Ruth Mantell)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - A gauge of consumer confidence jumped up to 56 in November, reaching the highest level since July, on improved expectations and views on the present economy, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The index rose more than 15 points - the largest gain since 2003 - from an upwardly revised 40.9 in October. A prior estimate for confidence in October had pegged the level at 39.8. With improving employment figures and lower gas prices, economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a reading of 45 for November, with the overall gain somewhat offset by volatility in stocks and Europe, as well as U.S. gridlock over budget cuts. Despite the confidence gain in November, consumers remain concerned about jobs, and confidence readings are at relatively low levels -- generally when the economy is growing at a good clip, confidence readings are at least 90.