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The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell again in May, for the fifth consecutive month, this time dropping to a 16-year low. The Index now stands at 57.2 (1985=100), down from 62.8 in April. The previous low, set in October of 1992, was 54.6. Two associated indices, the Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index, also declined, to 74.4 from 81.9, and to 45.7 from 50, respectively. Also taking a hit were consumers’ plans to buy some big-ticket items, such as cars and homes. The percentage of consumers expecting to purchase an automobile in the next six months declined to 4.8 percent in May

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