Consumers' Gloom Deepens in October

A key report on confidence posted a bigger-than-expected drop for the month, raising the risk that the economic slowdown will linger

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index plummeted to a reading of 85.5 in October from 97.0, which was much worse than expected. Overall, it appears that the "patriotic" strength in consumer sentiment seen immediately following the September 11 attacks is gone. Growing weakness in the labor market and the economy, along with heightened fear and uncertainty tied to more terrorism on the homefront, has dampened consumers outlook.

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