U.S. consumer confidence sagged in February as expectations worsened, according to a private sector report released on Tuesday.
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The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 78.1 from a downwardly revised 79.4 in January. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected 80.0.
The expectations index fell to 75.7 from a downwardly revised 80.8 last month. But the present situation index rose to 81.7, the highest since April 2008. January's reading was revised to 77.3.
"While expectations have fluctuated over recent months, current conditions have continued to trend upward," Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. "This suggests that consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead."
The "jobs hard-to-get" index was 32.5 in February compared with a revised 32.7 in January. Consumers' one-year inflation expectation was 5.2 percent, compared with 5.1 percent last month.
(Reporting by Steven C. Johnson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)