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Home Prices Rose Again In January, But Consumer Confidence Is Down

The housing recovery continues:

Average home prices rose 7.3 percent from December to January in their 10-city composite index and 8.1 percent in a broader 20-city list, according to the data crunchers who produce the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

The biggest year-over-year gains were in Phoenix, where prices were up 23.2 percent from January 2012.

Tuesday's report is just the latest in a string of positive signs about the housing sector, which began a long slide in 2008.

Later this morning, the private Conference Board is due to release its March consumer confidence report. We'll update when that happens.

Update at 10:15 a.m. ET. Confidence Drops:

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 59.7 in March from 68.0 in February, the business research group says.

Lynn Franco, the board's director of economic indicators, says in a press release that "this month's retreat was driven primarily by a sharp decline in expectations, although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions. The loss of confidence, particularly expectations, mirrors the losses experienced this past December and January. The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident."

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