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Consumer Confidence Steady in June

June 24, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Consumer confidence was steady in June as Americans grew more upbeat about the economy’s prospects in coming months, despite lukewarm enthusiasm about current conditions, a private research group said Tuesday.

The New York-based Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index edged back to 83.5 in June from a revised 83.6 in May, following two consecutive months of increases. Analysts had projected an index reading of 82.

``While consumers’ assessment of current conditions has lost ground since April, expectations for the next six months are up,″ said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center.

``The recent turnaround in the stock market and an easing in unemployment claims should keep consumer expectations at current levels and may signal more favorable economic times ahead,″ she said.

Economists closely track consumer confidence because consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States.

On Wall Street, prices rose following the release of the report. In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 34 points to 9,107, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 2 points to 1,612.

Franco said Tuesday’s report indicates that consumers are mixed in their assessment of current business and labor market conditions.

Reflecting that, the report’s present situation index declined to 64.9 in June from 67.3 in May. The number of consumers who say business conditions are good and jobs are plentiful both fell.

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