US consumer confidence unchanged, near record low-ABC

NEW YORK, July 15 Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:01pm EDT

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NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) - American consumers' confidence held steady at a low level in the latest week, more than 30 points below its all-time average, a report showed on Tuesday.

The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index held at -41 in the week to July 13, unchanged from the previous week on its -100/+100 scale. Its all-time low, reached in May, is -51 and its historical average -10.

In a separate survey, ABC said pessimism about the economy's direction is at a 27-year high of 78 percent.

Earlier on Tuesday, Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence said their IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index held at 37.4 in July, a record low and 14.5 points or 28 percent below its all-time average.

The Consumer Comfort Index's components were mixed in the latest week, as positive views on personal finances gained 1 percentage point to 52 percent and those on the national economy shed one percentage point to 14 percent. Views on the buying climate were unchanged at 23 percent.

Confidence measures are generally viewed as a barometer of consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. economy. However, economists note that consumers do not always act in accordance with their statements to surveys.

The ABC News consumer confidence survey was based on a sample of about 1,000 interviews conducted in the four weeks ending July 13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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