The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index tumbled for the second month in a row as Americans reacted to embassy bombings overseas and stock market turmoil at home.
The index fell to 133.1 in August from 137.1 in July and 138.2 in June. The last time the index registered two consecutive declines was in September and October of 1996.
The index measures consumer sentiment about the coming six months, based on a sample of 5,000 households. The falling index raises the possibility that consumers will spend money more cautiously later in the year. It is conducted for the Conference Board by NFO Research Inc., Greenwich, Conn.
Lynn Franco, associate director of the Conference Board's consumer research center, pointed out that consumer spending has fueled economic growth for several years.
"Confidence readings in September and October may throw more light on the pace of activity we can expect for the final months of the year," she said.