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Consumer confidence downshifts


New York -- Staging a modest rally after a major slide the month before, consumer confidence edged up 1.0% during June to a reading of 105.7 as Americans say they feel better about business conditions looking six months ahead than they do about what's happening now, The Conference Board reported.

Though managing a modest rally, the June reading won back only a fraction of the steep 4.6% fall-off during May, and the widely watched bellwether of future consumer spending remains 3.7% beneath the April reading of 109.8, which marked a 13-month high in the index.

"The slight bounce-back in confidence this month was a result of the moderate improvement in consumers' expectations," said Lynn Franco, director of the business think tank's Consumer Research Center.

Importantly, she noted, the component of the index which measures current conditions, "lost ground for a second consecutive month, a signal that the economy is shifting into lower gear heading into the second half of this year."

Consumers' overall assessment of current conditions, while favorable, declined for a second straight month, with the number claiming conditions are 'good' declining to 26.8% from 28.5% during May. Those claiming conditions are 'bad' eased to 14.9% from 15.2%.

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