Consumer Confidence Holds Steady, Still Low

After declining in June, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index held fairly steady in July, rising from 51 to 51.9. The Conference Board's Present Situation Index was 65.3 versus 65.4 last month. The Expectations Index was up slightly, from 41.4 in June to 43 in July. “Consumers' assessment of current conditions was little changed, suggesting there has been no significant improvement, nor significant deterioration, in business or labor market conditions,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. “Looking ahead, while consumers remain extremely grim about short-term prospects, the modest improvement in expectations, often a harbinger of economic times to come, bears careful watching over the next few months.” Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions remained gloomy in July. Those who believe business conditions

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