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Consumers regain confidence

New York -- With consumers doing an abrupt about-face over the past 30 days, confidence levels climbed unexpectedly higher during September, erasing at least a part of the prior month's big drop in sentiment, The Conference Board reported.

After skidding down by 6.4% in August, The Conference Board reported that sentiment improved by 4.3% during September, clawing back to a level of 104.5.

But the motivation for the sudden rebound in sentiment remains vague, said Lynn Franco, director of the business think tank's Consumer Research Center. "Even though consumers' concerns have eased, there is little to suggest a significant change in economic activity as we enter the final quarter of 2006."

Looking six months out, consumers were less pessimistic than in August. The number who expect conditions to worsen declined to 10.6% from 12.9%. At the same time, the number who expect conditions to improve was unchanged at 16.3%.

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