RISING OPTIMISM: U.S. consumer confidence rose this month to its highest level in almost five years. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index reached 73.7 in November, up from 73.1 in October. Both are the best readings since February 2008.
BETTER HIRING, GAS PRICES: Americans are growing more optimistic because they see the job market improving, the Conference Board said. Rising home values and falling gas prices are also helping.
HOLIDAY SPENDING: Higher consumer confidence could translate into a more robust holiday shopping season and stronger economic growth. Consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity.