LAYOFFS, LOW EARNINGS SINK CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

NEW YORK -- Consumer confidence dropped 2% in July as word of lower corporate earnings, layoffs and a skittish stock market burned its way into the minds of the public.The Consumer Confidence Index inched downward to 116.5 in July, after it improved 2.8 points to 118.9 in June. Still, while some economists contend the index has stabilized after robust growth, it is down considerably since hitting

NEW YORK -- Consumer confidence dropped 2% in July as word of lower corporate earnings, layoffs and a skittish stock market burned its way into the minds of the public.

The Consumer Confidence Index inched downward to 116.5 in July, after it improved 2.8 points to 118.9 in June. Still, while some economists contend the index has stabilized after robust growth, it is down considerably since hitting its yearly high of 143 last July.

"The moderate decline in confidence signals sl

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