Economic Glee

Housing Numbers Shoot Up

After a sell-off on Monday, U.S. markets got an injection of optimism from reports on the health of vital sectors of the U.S. economy. The Case-Shiller index of home values rose 0.2 percent in December, and 7.3 percent for all of 2012. Meanwhile, the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence spiked sharply in February—up to 69.6 from 58.4 in January. The upshot: home buyers and consumers seem to be putting the political drama of the fiscal cliff and rising payroll taxes behind them.