U.S. consumers became more confident in December as they turned from problems to prospects for a growing economy in 2010, The Conference Board said. But that might be the most improvement in public attitude until the job market recovers, experts said. "We're going to need a more definitive improvement in the labor market before confidence improves more than it has," said Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities America. "The housing numbers are encouraging, but apparently they're not having much influence on consumer attitudes."

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