If Consumers Are a Leading Indicator, Watch Out

They now expect things to get worse from here -- a perception that could make the slowdown much deeper and longer

It has already been a long, cold winter for the American consumer -- and it's not over yet. Hopes for a brief downturn in consumer spending, which makes up two-thirds of all economic activity, are fading as confidence continues to erode and it becomes increasingly clear that the declining stock market is putting a serious damper on the economy.

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