U.S. consumer confidence fell for a fourth straight month in September, suggesting a consumer-driven recovery may be flagging.
The Conference Board, a private business research group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 93.3 in September -- its lowest since November 2001 -- from a revised 94.5 in August. Analysts had expected the index to fall to 92.3.
Confidence was hit by falling stocks, longer unemployment lines and fears of a possible U.S. attack on Iraq. While consumers have been spending heartily recently and driving the recovery, recent reports have shown some signs of moderation.
The Present Situation Index, a measure of consumers' attitudes about the economy and their finances right now, fell in September to 88.5 from 93.1 in August. The Expectations Index, a gauge of consumers' six-month outlook, rose slightly to 96.5 in September from 95.5 in August. However, plans to buy big items, such as cars and home appliances, and plans for buying new homes in the next six months, sagged.
Worries about the job market increased. The number of respondents saying that jobs were hard to get rose to 25.5% in September from 23.8% in August.