WASHINGTON - The Conference Board yesterday reported consumer confidence plunged in July, prompting analysts to predict spending and the economy in general will remain weak in the coming months.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index for July posted its largest decline in nine months. This surpassed many analysts' forecasts of a modest fall, which they said was bound to result from June's generally poor economic indicators, including the eight-year high unemployment rate of 7.8%.

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