Consumer Confidence Hits Two-Year High

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

( - Consumer confidence rose to a two-year high in July, the fourth consecutive monthly gain, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.

New home sales, meanwhile, dipped down 0.8 percent in June after setting a record sales pace in May, according to the Commerce Department.

Because of the June decline, sales of new single-family homes slipped down to an annual rate of 1.33 million units, still the second-highest level on record, following the all-time high sales pace of 1.34 million set in May.

Stocks opened higher Tuesday prompted by strong earnings from Verizon Communications. Investors were emboldened by Verizon's bullish second-quarter earnings and positive outlook.

The market had been in a slump for four weeks over concerns about stalled economic growth and a series of second-half profit warnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial average opened at 9,981.16, up 19.24 points or 0.19 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.73 points or 0.16 percent, at 1,085.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.23 points or 0.34 percent at 1,845.25.

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