CONSUMER CONFIDENCE SOARS IN MAY

NEW YORK (FNS) -- Interest rate hikes and stock price declines couldn't keep consumer confidence from springing forward in May, nearly reaching January's historical high.Last month's Consumer Confidence Index, released by the Conference Board here, jumped ahead to 144.4 from 137.7 in April. Consumer confidence had dipped over the previous three months from January's all-time high of 144.7.Economists

NEW YORK (FNS) -- Interest rate hikes and stock price declines couldn't keep consumer confidence from springing forward in May, nearly reaching January's historical high.

Last month's Consumer Confidence Index, released by the Conference Board here, jumped ahead to 144.4 from 137.7 in April. Consumer confidence had dipped over the previous three months from January's all-time high of 144.7.

Economists said the series of increases in interest rates, the recent gyrations in the

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