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Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Consumer confidence slips in March

March 31, 2004

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— Consumer confidence was stagnant in March amid lingering worries about the job market.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 88.3 this month from a revised 88.5 in February. The February reading was down sharply from 97.7 in January.

The March reading -- the lowest level since October, when it reached 81.7 -- was slightly better than analysts had expected, in light of the terrorist bombings in Madrid.

The Present Situations index, which measures consumers' assessment of current conditions, rose to 84.1 from 83.3 in February. The Expectations Index, which gauges their outlook for six months from now, fell to 91 from 91.9.

"While consumers claimed business conditions were more favorable in March than last month, they also claimed jobs were less readily available," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

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