US consumer confidence weakens in January

US consumers grew less confident in the economy in February as concerns grew about the future pace of growth, The Conference Board said Tuesday.

After two straight months of gains, the private research firm's Consumer Confidence Index fell to 78.1 from a revised 79.4 in January.

Analysts expected the index to come in at 80.8.

The reading for consumers' assessment of current conditions improved for the fourth month in a row to its highest level since April 2008.

But expectations for the coming six months were more pessimistic.

"Consumer confidence declined moderately in February, on concern over the short-term outlook for business conditions, jobs, and earnings," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the firm.

The data suggest "that consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead," Franco said.