Americans Trim Expectations for Stock Gains

After a volatile month, confidence dropped from a record high

Optimism among American households about the stock market’s prospects was the highest on record in January. Now, not so much after a volatile month. Figures from the Conference Board’s consumer confidence report on Tuesday showed 41.3 percent of respondents in February expected higher equity prices in the coming year, down from 51 percent a month earlier. The S&P 500 Index is down about 2 percent in February. In March 2007, the last time expectations weakened as much, the gauge was coming off a 3.5 percent slide a month earlier.

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