By Greg Robb, MarketWatch
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The numbers: American consumer attitudes improved markedly in December, the University of Michigan said Friday in a preliminary estimate.
The University of Michigan’s gauge of consumer sentiment rose to a preliminary December reading of 99.2 from a final November reading of 96.8. Economists polled by MarketWatch has expected a December reading of 96.9.
What happened: According to the report, a gauge of consumers’ views on current conditions rose to 115.2 in December from 111.6 in November, while a barometer of their expectations rose to 88.9 from 87.3.
Big picture: Combined with the strong November jobs report published Friday, rising confidence eases some worries about the near-term economic outlook.
For context, the consumer-sentiment gauge has averaged 97 over the past three years.
Economists follow readings on confidence to look for clues about consumer spending, the backbone of the economy. Next week the government will report on retail sales for November. Spending has been lackluster in the past few months.
Market reaction: Stocks jumped after the November job report handily beat expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +2.68% was up over 275 points in early trading.