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Homes Prices Rise, Consumer Spending Flattens, Confidence Increases

Two fresh economic indicators:

-- Home prices rose in May from April in all 20 major metropolitan areas where the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices keep track of them. Overall nationally, prices were up 2.2 percent. While those are encouraging signs, the housing sector's softness was shown by the 0.7 percent national decline in prices since May 2011.

-- Consumer spending was flat in June, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says, even as personal income rose 0.5 percent from May. The Associated Press writes that "the lack of growth in spending follows a decline in the previous month, suggesting consumers are staying cautious with their money."

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. Consumer Confidence Rises:

The private Conference Board reports that its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 65.9 in July, from 62.7 in June. Still, says Conference Board economist Lynn Franco, "the overall index remains at historically low levels." As The Associated Press notes, 90 is generally seen as the line between a healthy and ailing economy. The index, the wire service writes, "hasn't been near that level since the Great Recession began in December 2007." Its recent low was 25.3 in February 2009.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.