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Trump bump: Consumer confidence hits 16-year high and house prices rise

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Robert Donachie, DCNF

U.S. consumer confidence hit a 16-year high in March, stemming from a strengthening labor market, rallying stock market and narrowing trade deficit.

Consumer confidence jumped 9.5 points to 125.6 in March, marking the highest reading in the index since December 2000, Reuters reports. The uptick in consumer confidence suggests the economy is recovering nicely after staggering slightly at the beginning of last year.

The U.S. economy is in a great spot for a number of reasons, including: a falling unemployment rate, growing hourly wages and compensation packages, an increase in the federal funds rate and increase in consumer spending.

With confidence upbeat and several other signals related to consumer spending in fairly good shape, we think that real consumption will firm moving forward,” Daniel Silver, economist at JP Morgan, told reporters.

Another factor that is illustrative of a strengthening economy is the recent increase in housing prices. U.S. housing prices continued making gains in January, with single-family home prices increasing by 5.9 percent, up form 5.7 percent in December of 2016, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index.

The dollar is trading marginally above nearly all other foreign currencies, but the price of U.S. government bonds fell slightly Tuesday afternoon. For its part, Wall Street continued steady gains Tuesday, after incurring some losses following Republicans’ failure to push the American Health Care Act through Congress.

One thing is for certain: Consumer and business confidence have been on a tear since President Donald Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the president promised a litany of pro-growth policies on the campaign trail.

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