Consumer confidence falls to seven-month low

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Consumers aren’t as optimistic about the economy in early 2016 as they were last fall.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Consumers confidence fell in February to the lowest level in seven months, as American became a bit more pessimistic about business conditions. Turmoil in stock markets probably also increased anxiety.

The consumer confidence index dropped to 92.2 from a revised 97.8 in January, the Conference Board said Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had projected the index to fall to 96.9.

The present situation index, a measure of current conditions, slid to 112.1 from 116.6.

The future expectations index declined to 78.9 from 85.3.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions weakened, primarily due to a less favorable assessment of business conditions,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. “Consumers’ short-term outlook grew more pessimistic, with consumers expressing greater apprehension about business conditions, their personal financial situation, and to a lesser degree, labor market prospects.

Still, the survey also suggests that consumers believe the economy “will continue to expand at a moderate pace in the near term,” Franco added.

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