CONSUMER CONFIDENCE DIPS IN JULY

WASHINGTON — The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell slightly this month against the four-year high registered in June, the board reported Tuesday.
“While consumers continue to grow more satisfied with ongoing conditions, their expectations for the immediate future have tapered off,” said Fabian Linden, executive director of the board’s Consumer Research Center.
“Still, the expectations component of the index, which has an impressive record as a leading economic indicator, suggests a continuation of steady, moderate economic growth in the second half of the year,” Linden said.
July’s reading “is still a very high level, which is very important for [consumer] buying,” said Kurt Karl, senior vice president of macro services at the WEFA Group, an economics forecasting firm in Bala-Cynwyd, Pa. The dip in expectations may be attributable to interest rate increases over the last few months, he said.
“Apparel should be doing well through this period — confidence and employment are high and income growth is doing well,” Karl said. “That should mean people are going to have some new work and leisure clothes.”
Demand for homes and cars may be peaking, which would leave more disposable income for apparel, he added.

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