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U.S. consumer confidence plunged to a 9-month low in April, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment revealed on Friday.
The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment, which records the figure for the first half of a month, edged down to 72. 3 in April from 78.6 in the previous month. This is the lowest level since July 2012 and far below economists' expectation of 79.
The index gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, also fell to 64.2 in April from 70.8 in March.
The index of current conditions, reflecting Americans' perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like cars, dropped to 84.8 in April from 90.7 a month ago.
The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession from December 2007 to June 2009, and 89 in the five years leading up to the recession.
The index followed a report that came out earlier on Friday showing U.S. retail and food services sales fell unexpectedly in March by the most in nine months. Some economists hold that the new figures may have reflected the impact of higher payroll taxes and roughly 85 billion U.S. dollars in government spending cuts that kicked in on March 1.
Philippines News agency