FRANKFURT, GERMANY

In Europe, tepid signs point – at last – to recession’s end

After a year and a half of recession, Europe’s battered economy could finally be showing signs of life.

It’s not the kind of recovery that calls for a big celebration. Any upswing will be a slow and arduous climb — up a slope strewn with high unemployment and scarce credit for businesses.

But signs of improvement are there. On Thursday, a German index of business confidence rose for the third month in a row. Meanwhile, surveys of purchasing managers in the euro area indicate manufacturing activity edged back into growth territory in July for the first time in 18 months.

WASHINGTON

Decision on new chairman for Fed isn’t expected till fall

The White House says President Barack Obama is not expected to name a new chairman of the Federal Reserve until the fall, lowering expectations for an imminent announcement.

A senior official says the president has not made a decision on who will replace current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. His term expires early next year.

The president’s pick is highly anticipated, given the Fed chairman’s impact on economic policy.

Consumer confidence level reaches six-year high in July

Americans are more confident about the economy than at any time since July 2007, a survey found, suggesting consumers will spend more and accelerate growth in the months ahead.

The University of Michigan said Friday that its final reading of consumer sentiment in July was 85.1. That’s up one point from June but nearly 13 points higher than a year ago.

Rising home prices and steady job gains are boosting household wealth and income. The proportion of Americans who expect their inflation-adjusted incomes to rise in the coming year is greater than at any time since late 2007, the survey found. And the percentage of Americans who say their home values have risen is also at a six-year high.

- From news service reports