US consumer confidence dips slightly in February

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2014 at 10:13 am •  Published: February 25, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence fell slightly in February over concerns about the near-term outlook for business conditions and jobs.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its confidence index dipped to 78.1 this month, down from 79.4 in January.

"Consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

Consumer sentiment is closely watched for indications about how it will impact consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Views about current conditions increased for the fourth consecutive month and now stand at the highest level in almost six years. But the index that tracks consumer expectations dipped slightly, pulling the overall reading down.

Amna Asaf, an economist at Capital Economics, said the small decline in February likely reflected the bad weather that much of the country has had to endure this winter. She said it also could have been a delayed reaction to the tumble the stock market took in January. But with the stock market now rebounding, she predicted confidence will rise as well.

"The improving fundamentals suggest that a rebound (in confidence) is just around the corner," she said.

In the expectations category, consumer sentiment about the labor market was a bit more pessimistic than it has been, possibly reflecting two months of weak job gains.