Led by more cheerful views on current economic conditions, a gauge of consumer sentiment rose to the highest level in three months, exceeding estimates, according to data released Friday.
The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment gauge rose to a preliminary February reading of 76.3 - the highest level since November - from a final January reading of 73.8.
Stocks remained higher after the data....
A gauge of consumer sentiment rose in January more than Wall Street had expected, but overall levels remained relatively low with respondents concerned over higher payroll taxes.
The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters sentiment gauge rose to a January reading of 73.8, up from 72.9 in December. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a final January reading of 71.5, compared with a preliminary reading of 71.3, with higher payroll taxes continuing to weigh on consumers' moods.
"The end of the payroll tax holiday had a significant impact on consumer confidence, especially among lower-income households," said Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist.