Stocks hold gains after sluggish consumer data

December 30, 2008 7:18:03 AM PST
Wall Street is taking in stride a report that consumer confidence hit an all-time low in December as Americans, hearing news of thousands of layoffs, worried about their job security. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index dropped to 38 in December from a revised 44.7 the previous month. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the index to rise incrementally to 45.

It's likely that the dismal holiday shopping season prepared investors for downbeat news on consumer confidence - shoppers expressed their worries about the economy by cutting back their spending sharply.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 21 points at 8,505, little changed from its levels before the consumer data was released.

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