Consumer Confidence Beats Expectations in U.S.

U.S. consumer confidence surged in February, reaching the highest level since 2000.

Figures released Tuesday by the Conference Board show its measure of consumer attitudes on current and future economic conditions increased to 130.80 in February, up from 124.30 in January.

The newest reading is the index's highest since November 2000, when confidence peaked at 132.60.

Feelings about short-term economic prospects, in particular, shot back up in January after declining sharply the month before.

The index takes into account Americans' views of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months. Economists pay close attention to the numbers because consumer spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic activity.