Mortgage default rates were mixed through a variety of categories in October compared to the previous month, but were generally lower than the same period in 2010, according to the most recent S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices. First mortgage default rates rose to 2.08 percent in October, up from 1.99 percent the month before but down from the 2.91 percent noted in October of 2010. The composite rate reached 2.15 percent, compared to 2.10 percent the month before and 3.03 percent during the same period last year. "This month's data show how much weight first mortgage default rates have in the national composite, about 84 percent," says David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee for S&P Indices. "Auto loan, second mortgages and especially bank cards all saw pretty significant drops in their default rates." The findings may portend improved consumer confidence. On Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department reported a 0.5 percent increase in retail sales in October - the fifth straight monthly gain for the figure.