US consumer confidence ebbs in October

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US consumer confidence declined in October following successive gains in the prior two months, according to Conference Board figures released Tuesday.

The Board's consumer confidence index fell to 98.6, down from September's downward-revised result of 103.5.

Analysts had forecast the index to drop to 100.8.

"Consumers' assessment of current business and employment conditions softened, while optimism regarding the short-term outlook retreated somewhat," Lynn Franco, the board's head of economic indicators, said in a statement.

"However, consumers' expectations regarding their income prospects in the coming months were relatively unchanged. Overall, sentiment is that the economy will continue to expand in the near-term but at a moderate pace."

Those saying business conditions were "good" fell slightly from 27.7 per cent to 26.2 per cent but those saying circumstances were "bad" rose from 15.8 per cent to 17.7 per cent.

Views on the labour market also dimmed, with the share of those believing jobs were "plentiful" falling to 24.3 per cent from 27.6 per cent.

The percentage of consumers who said they believed business conditions would improve over the next six months was 1 point lower at 16 per cent, according to the survey.