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6/29/2004
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Consumer Confidence Lifts All Markets

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose much more than expected in June, sending stocks higher as investors await Wednesday's Fed meeting.

Consumer confidence rose more than expected in June, giving stocks the boost they needed to overcome a potential Fed interest-rate hike.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 101.9 in June, the highest figure in nearly two years and well above Wall Street's expectations. It's also considerably higher than the 93.1 reading in May.

Buoyed by the good news, the Dow industrials rose 56.34 points, or 0.5%, to close at 10,413.43. The S&P 500 rose 2.85 points, or 0.3%, to 1,136.20. And the Nasdaq rose 15.11 points, or 0.8%, to close at 2,034.93. Our InformationWeek 100 index rose 1.43 points, or 0.5%, to 321.54. And the Nasdaq-100 tracking stock rose 35 cents, or 0.9%, to close at $37.37 on lighter-than-average volume of 68 million shares traded.

Despite the good news, all ears are awaiting the Federal Reserve's announcement Wednesday, when it's widely expected to raise interest rates a quarter percentage point.

"Even though the market's up a little bit and the confidence number is good, I think people are still waiting for the Fed," Brian Bruce, director of global investments at PanAgora Asset Management, told The Associated Press. "Uncertainty still rules, and once the Fed moves, we can pick a direction and start focusing on earnings and the economy, which are doing really well."

Online retailer Amazon.com said it's seeking to dissolve its partnership with Toys 'R Us, claiming its contract with the toy retailer has been a "chronic failure." The two are embroiled in a legal battle and have entered mediation. Amazon rose 32 cents to $53.71.

See the full listing of all the companies in the InformationWeek 100 and the top 5 percentage winners and losers for the last closing at informationweek.com/stocks.

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