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Fiscal cliff fears jolt consumer confidence

Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 3:23pm

Consumer confidence took a dive in December, dragged down by fears that the country will indeed fall over the fiscal cliff.

The closely watched Consumer Confidence Index, which measures the American public's sentiments every month, sank six points to 65.1. That's a major turnaround since October, when it reached a four-year high of 73.1.

The report by The Conference Board, a business research firm, came in much lower than expected by economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

It's the biggest drop to consumer confidence since the nation's credit rating was lowered in August of last year.

Lynn Franco, the firm's director of economic indicators, blamed the continuing failure by the nation's leaders to reach a deal and avert tax hikes and spending cuts from kicking in automatically next week.

"The sudden turnaround in expectations was most likely caused by uncertainty surrounding the oncoming fiscal cliff," Franco said.

The job market outlook also took a hit, with a greater portion of people are expecting fewer jobs in the months ahead.

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