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State and Nation Business

U.S. consumer confidence ticks up in February

WASHINGTON – A rising stock market and a more optimistic outlook among younger Americans pushed up a measure of U.S. consumer sentiment in February.

The University of Michigan said its index of consumer sentiment rose to 81.6 from 81.2 in January. That's still slightly below December's figure.

The harsh winter weather had only a modest impact. The survey found Americans are more upbeat about their prospects than at any time in the past six months. And those under age 35 were the most optimistic in six years about their future incomes.

At the same time, the cost of home heating caused some older Americans to take a dimmer view of their finances.

Survey director Richard Curtin said that consumers' resilience in the face of cold weather bodes well for future spending.

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