File - Shoppers Manuel Orellano, center, with his daughter Marcela, left, and her son Manuel, 6, shop for children's clothing at JCPenney at the Glendale Galleria shopping mall in Glendale, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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U.S. consumer confidence rose in December to a near eight-year high, a sign that falling gasoline prices and expectations of a better job market could give a boost to the economy.Friday's data suggested consumers expect faster inflation. The survey's one-year inflation expectation rose to 2.9 percent from 2.8 percent, while its five-year inflation outlook also rose.When compared to a year earlier, that core index was up just 1.5 percent, and the annual reading has been dropping a tenth of a point each month since September.U.S. stocks briefly cut losses after the buoyant sentiment data but stayed lower on the day as investors fretted about declining oil prices and what that said about global demand.
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