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CONFIDENCE IN ECONOMY HITS 5-YEAR HIGH

American consumer confidence in the economy shot up to the highest level in nearly five years this month, buoyed by more job opportunities and low inflation, a widely followed survey reported Tuesday.

The Conference Board's monthly assessment of consumer confidence showed Americans are markedly more optimistic over their expectations in the months ahead."We have a relatively modest unemployment rate and a fairly subdued inflation rate," said Fabian Linden, director of consumer research for the business-sponsored research group.

An index based on the consumer survey rose to 105.5 from a revised reading of 102.2 in March. That's the highest level since a 116.l6 reading in July 1990.