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Confidence down for September

NEW YORK -- Hit by hurricanes, gas prices and a softer job market, consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in September for a second straight month, declining 2.9 percent to a reading of 85, down from 87.5 in September.

The key barometer of consumer sentiment -- and future consumer spending -- has now fallen 19.4 percent during the past two months, from a 13-month high of 105.5 set in August, to its lowest level in more than a year.

The Conference Board said the plunging numbers could indicate that consumers will curtail their Christmas shopping, putting retailer profits under pressure during the holiday season.