U.S. stocks remained little changed, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index trading near its highest level since May 2008, after consumer confidence held close to the strongest in a year.
The Conference Board’s confidence index dropped to 70.2 in March from a revised 71.6 reading in February that was higher than initially reported, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a decrease to 70.
The S&P 500 yesterday erased last week’s decline after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said that accommodative monetary policy is still needed to spur jobs.
The index rose 3.7 percent in March through yesterday, poised for a fourth straight monthly gain, the longest winning streak since 2009. It trades for 14.6 times reported earnings, the highest valuation level since July while still below the average since 1954 of 16.4.
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