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U.S. consumer confidence at more than four-year high

Anna Wolnicki and her daughter Veronica, 2, shop for Juicy Couture dresses at Century 21 department store in New York in this file photo.

Mark Lennihan/AP

U.S. consumer confidence rose in October to its highest in more than four years as Americans were more upbeat about improvements in the labour market, a private sector report showed on Thursday.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes gained to 72.2 from a downwardly revised 68.4 in September. It was the highest level since February 2008, though it came in shy of economists' estimates for 72.5.

September was originally reported as 70.3.

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The expectations index edged up to 82.9 from 81.5, while the present situation index jumped to 56.2 from 48.7.

Consumers' labour market assessment improved, with the "jobs hard to get" measure slipping to 39.4 per cent from 40.7 per cent. The "jobs plentiful" gauge gained to 10.3 per cent from 8.1 per cent.

Consumers "appear to be in better spirits approaching the holiday season," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

U.S. stocks added to gains immediately following the release, while investors were also taking in a report that showed manufacturing activity picked up in October. Treasuries prices slipped slightly.

Consumers views on price increases were unchanged from September with expectations for inflation in the coming 12 months holding at 5.9 per cent.

The report had originally been scheduled to be released on Oct 30, but was postponed due to the storm that hit the U.S. northeast.

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