Benchmaark crude is up 48 cents to $85.57 around noon EST; the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index reveals that Americans feel better about the state of the world's largest economy than any point in the last five years.
Consumer sentiment unexpectedly jumped 2.6 points to 74.2 in December -- a six-month high. And the current economic conditions component rose to its best level in about three years. Helping to stoke optimism was consumers' anticipation that the Bush tax cuts would live on.
Consumer sentiment unexpectedly rose to 75.5 in the initial June survey -- a reading that suggests consumers are becoming slightly more optimistic about the recovery%u2019s ability to improve economic conditions.