September 27, 2005

Consumer confidence to near 2-year low

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence plunged in
September, a report said on Tuesday. The Conference Board said
its gauge of consumer sentiment "plummeted" in September to
86.6 from 105.5 in August.

A Reuters poll of economists had culled a median forecast
for a smaller, but still substantial, drop to 95.0.

The Conference Board said the index plunged as Hurricane
Katrina, coupled with soaring gasoline prices and a less
optimistic job outlook, pushed consumer confidence to its
lowest level in nearly two years. The index read 81.7 in
October 2003.

The business research group's present situation index fell
to 108.9 from 123.8 while its expectations index fell to 71.7
in September from 93.3 last month.