Recent stock market volatility and rising gas prices may be behind the strong decline in consumer confidence in March, The Conference Board reported today. The consumer confidence index retreated to 107.2 this month from 111.2 in February, and Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement that the direction of financial markets and oil prices "bears watching to determine whether this decline is just a bump in the road or something more substantial." Consumers' overall assessment of present-day conditions was little changed in March, as those claiming conditions are "good" dipped to 28.3 percent from 28.7 percent and those saying conditions are "bad" was virtually unchanged at 14.9 percent. Labor market conditions remain mixed this mont...
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