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U.S. Economy: Confidence Improves, Businesses Expand

Confidence among U.S. consumers rose in November to the highest level in five months and a gauge of business activity unexpectedly climbed, signaling the recovery is taking hold heading into 2011.

The Conference Board’s sentiment index increased to 54.1, exceeding the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, figures from the New York-based research group showed today. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said its business gauge advanced to the highest since April.