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Consumer sentiment falls, dampens stock rally

Consumer sentiment fell unexpectedly in September.

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People shop for shoes at a department store in New York in this May 18 file photo. The University of Michigan/Reuters preliminary reading of consumer prices fell Friday. Analysts had been expecting it to rise.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Files

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Stocks are fluctuating after a discouraging report on consumer sentiment tempered recent signs of economic growth and upbeat earnings from the technology sector.

Stocks had started trading Friday with strong gains following upbeat earnings from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and software company Oracle. But the surge was short-lived because traders were disappointed to see that consumer confidence is falling again.

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The University of Michigan/Reuters' preliminary reading of September consumer sentiment fell from August levels. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast an increase.

Recommended: Consumer sentiment: Will Americans spend or save?

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 5, or 0.1 percent, at 10,590. The S&P 500 is down less than 1 at 1,125, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite is up 8, or 0.3 percent, at 2,311.