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U.S. consumer confidence cools down in July


13:48, July 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. consumer confidence slightly edged down in July but remained close to a six-year high reached in May, according to a consumer sentiment index released on Friday.

The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment declined to 83.9 in July from 84.1 in June, the monthly Thomson Reuters/ University of Michigan index showed.

The figure fell short of economists' estimate of 84.5, but was still near an almost six-year high of 84.5 in May.

The recent increase in mortgage rates and gas prices are believed to dampen consumers' outlook for the economy.

The index's component gauging consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, dipped to 73.8 in July from 77.8 in June.

But the component of the index reflecting Americans' perceptions of their financial situation and whether they consider it a good time to buy big-ticket items like houses or cars rose to 99.7 in July from 93.8 in June.

The index averaged 64.2 during the last recession from December 2007 to June 2009, and was at 89 in the five years leading up to the recession.

Survey results of consumer gauge are released twice each month, one preliminary and the other final.

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