East South Central

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index held steady in July following a decline in June. The Index now stands at 51.9 (1985=100), up minimally from June’s 51.0. The Present Situation Index was also virtually unchanged at 65.3 versus 65.4 last month. The Expectations Index gained the most ground, inching up to 43.0 from 41.4 in June. Six-month buying plans for big-ticket items in July were mixed, with 2.7 percent of consumers planning on buying a home in the next six months, up from 2.4 percent in June; 5.0 percent planning on purchasing an automobile, off slightly from June; and 27.7 percent expecting to buy

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