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    Consumer sentiment hovers near May high

    Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the nation’s economic growth.
    Chuck Burton/Associated Press
    Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the nation’s economic growth.

    WASHINGTON — A measure of US consumer confidence stayed near a six-year high in June as higher home prices boosted household wealth. The survey shows Americans remain upbeat about the economy, despite gyrations in the stock market.

    The University of Michigan said Friday that its final reading of consumer sentiment in June was 84.1. That’s an improvement from a preliminary reading of 82.7 issued on June 14. And it is just slightly below May’s final reading of 84.5, which was the highest since July 2007.

    Rising household wealth was the main reason consumers stayed optimistic. Households with income above $75,000, those more likely to own homes and stocks, reported the biggest gain.


    Consumers’ confidence is closely watched because their spending accounts for 70 percent of economic growth. The improvement suggests consumers were unfazed by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s June 19 comments about the Fed’s bond purchases. Bernanke said the Fed could start to slow its bond buying by the end of the year and end it next year, if the economy continues to strengthen. The bond purchases have kept long-term interest rates low.

    ‘‘Consumers now believe the recovery has achieved an upward momentum that will not be easily reversed,’’ said Richard Curtin, director of the survey.