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Rebounding stocks help lift U.S. consumer confidence

WASHINGTON-- A private survey says U.S. consumers are feeling more confident in March, with a rebounding stock market brightening their outlook.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index has rebounded to 96.2 after tumbling to a revised 94 in February.

Consumers' assessment of current economic conditions has fallen slightly. But their outlook for the future has improved modestly.

The U.S. stock market got off to a dismal start in 2016, driven by fears of economic weakness overseas and plunging oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average had plummeted more than 10 percent this year through mid-February. It has since recovered most of those losses.

"As for what this number means for the market, little as its rarely market moving as it never is a good tip off to future economic activity," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group.

Tuesday's report comes a day after the Commerce Department reported consumer spending edged up 0.1 percent in February, matching similar lackluster gains the prior two months.

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