The U.S. consumer confidence index declined in February to 96.4 from a seven-and-a-half-year high of 103.8 in January, the Conference Board said Tuesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had projected the index to fall to 99.0. The present situation index, a measure of current conditions, dropped to 110.2 from 113.9, while the future expectations index fell to 87.2 from 97.0. "While the number of consumers expecting conditions to deteriorate was virtually unchanged, fewer consumers expect conditions to improve, prompting a less upbeat outlook," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at board.
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