US consumer confidence takes a hit from hurricanes

By PAUL WISEMAN Markets Associated Press

In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, photo, a shopper browses at a Timberland store in Skokie, Ill. The Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for October on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) (The Associated Press)

American consumers feel a bit less confident this month, their spirits pulled down by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

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The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index fell to 119.8 in September from 120.4 in August. The reading still suggests that U.S. consumers are in a mostly sunny mood. But Conference Board economist Lynn Franco says that confidence "decreased considerably" in hurricane-hit Florida and Texas.

The index takes into account Americans' views of current economic conditions and their expectations for the next six months.

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Their view of today's economy slipped from August when the assessment was the sunniest in 16 years. Their outlook rose slightly in September.

Economists pay close attention to the numbers because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

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