A key measure of consumer morale made a surprising turn higher in August, but Americans still feel jittery about the economy.
The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 53.5 in August, from July's upwardly revised level of 51.0, the Conference Board, a New York-based research group that compiles the index, said Tuesday.
The rise follows two months of losses and beats the drop to 50 that economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting. But the index is still painfully low, falling far below 90 -- a level that typically indicates a stable economy.
"Markets are broadly interpreting this as an improvement in the economy, but overall consumer confidence is still very, very bad," said Tim Quinlan, an economist with Wells Fargo. "We went from being severely depressed about the outlook, to just being depressed about the outlook."