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US consumer confidence falls in March

U.S. consumers were less optimistic in March compared to the previous month as their assessment of current business conditions moderated, the Conference Board reported.

The Conference Board consumer confidence index fell to 127.7 this month from a downwardly revised reading of 130.0 in February. The present situation index went down to 159.9 from 161.2 and the expectations index decreased to 106.2 from 109.2.

"Consumers' assessment of current conditions declined slightly, with business conditions the primary reason for the moderation," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. "Consumers' short-term expectations also declined, including their outlook for the stock market, but overall expectations remain quite favorable."

Despite the slight decline in March, the index levels remain historically high and indicate strong growth in the coming months, Franco added.

The Conference Board said the percentages of consumers who said business conditions were either "good" or "bad" both went up this March. Those expecting conditions to worsen over the next six months also increased.

Consumers' assessment of the labor market was marginally more favorable, while their outlook for the job market was less optimistic, according to the Conference Board. The proportions of consumers expecting either more jobs in the months ahead or an improvement in short-term income both decreased.