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US Consumer Confidence Rises

A survey of U.S. households indicates that Americans are confident in the future of their economy, while a separate survey shows the rate of existing home sales in the U.S. continues to slip.

The rate of U.S. consumer confidence rose slightly in July in a monthly survey of American households. The index rose more than a point to 106.5. Analysts had expected the index to fall slightly to 104.

Experts say strong job prospects drove the increase, despite record high fuel prices.

In another survey, sales of previously owned homes fell more than a percent in June to 6.6 million, continuing an almost year-long slide.

Both surveys were released Tuesday.

Consumer confidence is widely seen as a gauge of spending and measures how consumers feel about the future of the economy. The measure of home sales is seen as a barometer of activity in the housing sector.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.