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US consumer confidence dips slightly in June

CNN  —  US consumer confidence teetered slightly in June as Americans grew a little more wary about the future, new data released Tuesday showed. The Conference Board’s latest consumer confidence index dipped to a reading of 100.4 in June from 101.3 in May. The reading landed in line with what economists were expecting. Readings of Americans’ confidence are typically closely watched, as consumer spending accounts for nearly 70% of US economic activity. But that significance is even more heightened now with the US presidential election just months away. Upbeat sentiment on the strength of the labor market outweighed concerns about the future; however, consumers’ feelings on current business conditions cooled, noted Dana Peterson, chief economist of the Conference Board. “Confidence pulled back in June but remained within the same narrow range that’s held throughout the past two years, as strength in current labor market views continued to outweigh concerns about the future,” she said in a statement. “However, if material weaknesses in the labor market appear, Confidence could weaken as the year progresses.” The Conference Board’s confidence index and the University of Michigan’s twice-a-month consumer sentiment index are the two leading gauges of consumers’ attitudes toward the current and future strength of the economy. Although the two indexes typically track similarly over time, the consumer confidence index is more influenced by employment and labor market conditions, while the Michigan sentiment index has a greater emphasis on household finances and the impact of inflation. The Michigan index’s preliminary reading for June, released earlier this month, showed sentiment levels were at a seven-month low.