The benchmark rate for $350 trillion worth of financial products worldwide has risen nearly 0.40 percentage point over the past year.
"The economy is ending the year on a high note with even the manufacturing sector showing signs of faster growth," an economist says.
Robert Lighthizer has argued that the U.S. “should take a much more aggressive approach in dealing with China" over trade.
The companies had, in fact, previously announced they would be bringing 8,000 jobs to the U.S.
The initial trade estimate for November suggests net trade "will again be a drag" on economic growth in the fourth quarter.
The Conference Board's index rose to 113.7 in December from an upwardly revised 109.4 in November, topping the July 2007 high of 111.9.
Prices are "enjoying robust numbers," but "cannot rise faster than incomes and inflation indefinitely."
Consumer spending, however, was relatively weak in November, suggesting a slowdown in economic growth in the fourth quarter.
It was the smallest gain in three months but year-over-year sales were up 3.8%, suggesting a positive start to the holiday shopping season.
The larger-than-expected decline, which followed a 0.1% gain in October, suggests the sector "is still just treading water."