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Consumer confidence increased in March as Americans grew more optimistic about their future economic security, according to a widely followed survey released today.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, a barometer of consumer spending and borrowing patterns, rose to 101 in March from a revised 99.4 reading in February.

"The current level of consumer confidence has traditionally been associated with a reasonable strong economic performance," said Fabian Linden, executive director of the New York-based business research concern.

The monthly index, calculated on a base of 100, is derived from responses to questionnaires sent to 5,000 U.S. households.

Consumers expectations for the next six months declined in March.

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