Consumer confidence jumps amid hopes for more jobs

Consumer confidence hit an eight-month high in January, suggesting the rising spirits that fueled a holiday shopping boom are carrying over into the new year as people feel better about the job market. The Manhattan-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 60.6 this month from 53.3 in December. Confidence has been depressed by unemployment that surged during the country's worst recession since the 1930s and has stayed stubbornly high.

Double dip in home prices takes a toll on some cities

A second wave of falling home prices is battering some cities that had escaped the worst of the housing market bust. Prices fell in November in all but one of the 20 cities in the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday. Prices in Seattle, Charlotte, N.C., and Portland, Ore., have hit their lowest points since peaking in 2006 and 2007. High unemployment and rising foreclosures are taking a toll even on markets that never overheated during the boom years. In many places prices are expected to keep falling for at least the next six months.

Google Inc. plans to hire 6,200 more workers

Google Inc. plans to hire more than 6,200 workers this year in the biggest expansion yet by the Internet's most profitable company. Google, which outlined its hiring plans Tuesday, added nearly 4,600 people last year. The company wouldn't say how many of the new jobs will be based in the United States, where most of its current workers are located.

Major indexes nearly static ahead of Obama's address

Stock indexes finished about where they started Tuesday after a round of disappointing corporate earnings and another drop in home prices. Trading was muted ahead of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech last night. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 3.33 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to close at 11,977.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 index inched up 0.34, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,291.18. The Nasdaq composite index gained 1.7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,719.25. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.34 percent from 3.39 percent late Monday.

Lowe's to cut 1,700 managers; may add 10,000 sales jobs

Lowe's Cos., the second-biggest U.S. home-improvement retailer, plans to eliminate 1,700 middle-management jobs as profit growth trails that of larger Home Depot Inc. Though a company executive declined to say how much money the moves will save, he said the company plans to add 8,000 to 10,000 weekend sales positions to improve staffing at the chain's busiest time of the week.

From wire reports

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