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Double-Dip Fears Hit Consumers

Consumer sentiment falls to its lowest level in over a year in September.



) -- It appears that fears of a double-dip have taken root with consumers, as an early read on consumer sentiment was worse than expected in September, falling to its lowest level in over a year.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary September reading came in at 66.6, down from 68.9 in August. Analysts were looking for a reading of 70.

"Confidence edged downward in early September, as consumers judged prospects for the national economy less favorably," the survey's director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

Consumers' outlook on current economic conditions was flat at 78.4 in early September, which was below forecasts of 79. Consumer expectations unexpectedly slipped to 59.1, the lowest since March 2009. Analysts predicted a reading of 64.2.

The news sent the

S&P Retail Index

in the red, falling 0.5% to 436.04.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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