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Shoppers in Miami. Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg

Increased optimism about personal finances and the buying climate propelled U.S. consumer sentiment last week to a fresh 17-year high, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.

Highlights of Consumer Comfort (Week Ended April 8) Weekly comfort  index rose to 58, the highest since Feb. 2001, from 57.2. Personal finances  measure advanced to 66, the highest since Aug. 2001, from 64.7. Comfort index of buying climate rose to 50.4, the strongest since Oct. 2000, from 49.1. Gauge tracking views of the economy was little changed at 57.7 from 57.8.

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