CNN Financial News Producer
President Obama announced today that he plans to nominate Ben Bernanke to a second term as head of the Federal Reserve, saying Bernanke “brought our economy back from the brink.”
Obama made the announcement this morning from Martha's Vineyard, MA, where he is vacationing.
Bernanke, a Republican who has played a central role in the government's extraordinary response to the recession and 2008 banking panic, will have to be confirmed by the Senate. His current four-year term ends on Jan. 31.
The question of Bernanke's reappointment had been the focus of much speculation. Recently, many economists and insiders had said they believed that he would more than likely keep his job.
Home prices on the upswing
Home prices may be on the road to recovery.
After three years of declines, home prices increased 3% in the three months ended June 30, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller report. That is the first quarter-over-quarter improvement in three years.
Prices in the national index are still down 15% compared with the second quarter of 2008, the report said. But that is better than the record 19% decline that was set in the first three months of 2009.
Consumer confidence soars
A key measure of consumer confidence jumped much more than predicted this month as the job market outlook and business expectations improved.
The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 54.1 in August from an upwardly-revised 47.4 in July. The measure is closely watched because consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.
Despite this month’s increase, the index remains at historically low levels. An overall reading above 90 indicates the economy is solid, and 100 or above signals strong growth.
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