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April 22, 2003 – Consumers’ Expectations Fall




The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell 0.2 percent in March to 110.6, slightly lower than expected. The indicator, which measures where the overall U.S. economy is headed in the next three to six months, was pushed down by worries over higher oil prices, the war and potential terrorist attacks. The Conference Board predicts that, while the economic situation is not likely to improve much throughout spring and possibly the summer, it won’t get any worse. Consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, has been holding up the struggling economy, but the Conference Board claims that the desire to spend is tapering off. However, other analysts believe that consumers have been merely caught up watching the war instead of spending and that now that the war is winding down consumer spending will strengthen.

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