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Consumer Sentiment Drops Slightly In August

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (9/3/13)--U.S. consumer confidence fell in August from a six-year high amid rising interest rates and escalating tensions in the Middle East (Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com Aug. 30).   
 
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Confidence Index declined to 82.1--a four-month low--from 85.1 in July, which was the highest level since July 2007.
 
Higher mortgage interest rates could stymie growth in the housing market, and political upheaval in Egypt and the specter of possible U.S. military intervention in Syria is creating the prospect of more expensive fuel prices, Bloomberg said.
 
However, rising home values could increase personal wealth and help mitigate the decline in consumer confidence, Bloomberg added.
 
In a related matter, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to -31.7 for the week ended Aug. 25--the lowest reading since April 7. It was -38.8 the previous week (Bloomberg.com and Moody's Economy.com Aug. 29).
 
The measure has declined 8.2 points since reaching a more-than five-year high three weeks ago.

U.S. Consumers Spent More In July

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WASHINGTON (9/3/13)--Consumer spending in the U.S. inched up in July amid slowing income growth and tame inflation (The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal Aug. 30). 
 
Consumer spending--which is a gauge of how much consumers spend on everything from household cleaners to cars--rose 0.1% in July from June, the Commerce Department said Friday. That follows a robust 0.6% spending increase in June.
 
Personal income increased 0.1%--a decline from June's 0.3% gain and the slowest pace since April.

The report is a harbinger that consumers may be reducing expenditures after more robust spending increases earlier this year--although they are not curbing spending altogether, the Journal said.