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Ahead of the Bell: US consumer confidence

September 29, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Conference Board releases its September index on U.S. consumer confidence at 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday.

LIKELY RETREAT: Economists expect the business group’s consumer confidence index to slide to 94.3 from a seven-month high 101.5 in August, according to a survey by the financial information firm FactSet.

STRENGTH ON THE HOMEFRONT: The August surge in consumers’ spirits reflected a solid U.S. economy. American gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic output — expanded at a robust 3.9 percent annual pace from April through June. The U.S. Commerce Department reported Monday that consumer spending rose a healthy 0.4 percent in August from July. Over the past year, employers have added 243,000 jobs a month, almost on pace with the hiring boom of the late ’90s. The unemployment rate last month hit a seven-year low 5.1 percent.

WORRIES ABROAD: The good news domestically has been offset by worries overseas. China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest, is slowing, damaging the emerging market countries that sell the Chinese raw materials and triggering a sell-off last month in global stock markets. The European economy remains sluggish. On Friday, the University of Michigan reported that its index of consumer sentiment fell this month to the lowest level in almost a year. Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Michigan survey, blamed the drop on worries that troubles overseas will hurt hiring and wages in the United States.

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