Consumer confidence tumbles in March

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Consumer confidence fell sharply in March, according to data released today by The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.

The index now stands at 63.4, down from 72 in February. The Present Situation Index improved to 36.9 from 33.8. The Expectations Index decreased to 81.1 from 97.5 last month.

"The sharp decline in confidence was prompted by a sharp decline in expectations. Consumers' inflation expectations rose significantly in March and their income expectations soured, a combination that will likely impact spending decisions," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.

"On the other hand, consumers' assessment of current conditions improved, indicating that while the short-term future may be uncertain, the economy continues to expand," Franco added.

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