Reports: consumer confidence climbs

WASHINGTON -- A report released Thursday by Bloomberg found that consumer confidence for the week ended Feb. 20 rose to the highest level since April 2008 as Americans grew less pessimistic about their personal finances.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, formerly the ABC News U.S. Weekly Consumer Comfort Index, was minus 39.2 in the period to Feb. 20, compared with minus 43.4 the prior week, the report showed.

Nearly half (49%) of those polled held positive views on their financial situation, the most in a year.

Earlier this week, the Consumer Confidence Index showed that in February, confidence surged, marking the fifth consecutive month of increases. The index stood at 70.4, up sharply from 64.8 in January.

"It finally appears that consumers are beginning to believe the economic recovery is underway," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Overall, it's still a reading that's relatively weak but much stronger than where we were a year ago."

The private survey, conducted monthly by Conference Board Consumer Research Center, gauges the perceptions of consumers about job and business conditions, as well as their outlook for the next six months.