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Consumer confidence slides

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(Read caption) This chart shows the annual change in consumer sentiment since 2000. Current results indicate that consumer sentiment is at its lowest level since 1980.

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Friday's early release of the Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers for February indicated a decline in consumer sentiment with a reading of 72.5 dropping 6.45% below the level seen last year while one year inflation expectations declined slightly to 3.2%.

The Index of Consumer Expectations (a component of the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators) declined to 68, and the Current Economic Conditions Index dropped to 79.6.

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It's important to recognize that consumer sentiment has seriously eroded over the past few months with the current results remaining near levels not seen since 1980, a major indication that consumers are in the process of tightening even further on spending.