American shoppers spent more in July than they did in June, but they still didn't feel very confident about the economy and their role as one of its main drivers this past month. In fact, consumer confidence is at its lowest level since April 2009, according to a report out Tuesday from the Conference Board. More participants in the board's survey said business conditions were "bad" than did in July, while those saying jobs were "hard to get" also increased to 49.1 percent from 44.8 percent, the board reported. "A contributing factor may have been the debt ceiling discussions since the decline in confidence was well underway before the S&P downgrade," Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions, on the other hand, posted only a modest decline as employment conditions continue to suppress confidence." Predictably, the gloomy report depressed U.S. stock prices, which opened down across the board on Tuesday, with the Dow losing more than 100 points before rebounding after two hours of trading.
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