Consumer confidence declined again in October after a substantial plunge the previous month, pushing the confidence index to its lowest level in 13 years, and home buying attitudes fell to their lowest level since 1990, according to the University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers. "The continuing decline in October was due to the cumulative strain of higher prices on the financial situation of consumers," said Richard Curtin, the director of the university survey. "The current outlook for higher costs of home heating, higher interest rates and falling real incomes will cause cutbacks in consumer spending in the coming months," noted Curtin. Based on the survey data, Curtin expected the growth rate in real consumption spending to be about 1 percent in both the fourth quarter and in the first quarter of 2006. The index of consumer sentiment was 74.2 in the October 2005 survey, down from 76.9 in the prior month and 96.5 three months ago. The three-month decline of 22.3 index-points ...
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