NEW YORK (
) -- Consumer confidence reached its highest level in April since September 2008, renewing hopes of an economic recovery.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index reached 57.9, up from 52.3 in March. Economists were looking for a much more modest reading of 53.5.
"Consumers' concerns about current business and labor market conditions eased again. And, their outlook regarding business conditions and the labor market was also more positive than last month," says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Looking ahead, continued job growth will be key in sustaining positive momentum."
The Present Situation Index increased to 28.6 from 25.2. The Expectations Index improved to 77.4 from 70.4.
The International Council of Shopping Centers also reported that retail sales inched up 0.2% for the week ended April 24. Sales rose 5.5% on a year-over-year basis.
The research group is forecasting April same-store sales to be flat to down 3%.
Even after the surprise in consumer confidence, shares of retailers are falling. The S&P Index is down 1% to 492.13 in morning trading.
is one of the biggest decliners of the day, plunging 17% to $7.43. The office supply retailer said on Monday that it missed both profit and revenue forecasts in its first-quarter and predicted a loss in its second quarter.
Other notable losers include
, which is falling 4% to 43 cents and
, which is off 3.7% to $104.16.
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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