- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — A monthly survey shows consumersconfidence in the economy in December surged to the highest level since April and is near a post-recession peak.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose almost 10 points to 64.5, up from a revised 55.2 in November. Analysts had expected 59.

The surge built on another big increase in November, when the index rose almost 15 points from the month before.

Improving confidence is in line with retail reports of a decent holiday shopping season. Still, the December confidence reading is below the 90 level that indicates an economy on solid footing.

Economists watch the confidence numbers closely because consumer spending — including items such as health care — accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

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