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Economic Report: Consumer confidence dips in February on worries about high inflation

The numbers: A survey of U.S. consumer confidence fell slightly in February to 110.5 from 111.1, as Americans remained somewhat pessimistic about the path of the economy in the upcoming months.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast the index to shrink to 109.5

During the pandemic, the index has ranged from a high 128.9 after a lull in the pandemic last summer to as low as 85.7 at the onset of the crisis.

Lately the index has drifted lower due to the delta and omicron outbreaks and a surge in inflation.

Big picture: The smaller decline in consumer confidence is a good sign, but Americans are still worried about high inflation. Fewer people plan to buy homes, cars, autos and other big-ticket items.

The big drag from inflation could slow the economy unless it begins to ease soon.

Key details: An measure of how consumers feel about the economy right now rose edged up to 145.1 points from 144.5

A similar gauge that looks ahead six months dipped to 87.5 from 88.8.

Looking ahead: “Consumers remain relatively confident about short-term growth prospects. While they do not expect the economy to pick up steam in the near future, they also do not foresee conditions worsening.” said Lynne Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the board.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.29%

 and the S&P500
SPX,
+0.16%

 fell in Tuesday trades after Russia invaded part of Ukraine.

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