Consumer confidence falls in June

After climbing for two months, the key index drops as more Americans say jobs are hard to find.

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NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Consumer confidence fell unexpectedly in June after two straight months of gains as Americans' optimism over business and job conditions weakened.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said Tuesday its index of consumer attitudes dropped to 49.3 this month from a downwardly revised 54.8 in May. Markets were expecting a reading of 55.0 for June.

The Present Situation Index also slid to 24.8 from 29.7.

Stocks fell while the dollar rose against the euro in the wake of the consumer confidence data.

"Following the upward revision to the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence survey, the decline in the Conference Board's Consumer Sentiment report was a big shocker," said Kathy Lien, director of FX strategy at GFT in New York.

"Despite the fact that the S&P 500 is close to 40% off its March lows, Americans grew less optimistic about present and future situations. The weaker confidence number should help the dollar recovery for the rest of the day. "

Americans saying jobs are "hard to get" increased to 44.8% from 43.9% the previous month, while those saying jobs are "plentiful" slid to 4.5% from May's 5.8%.

"The decline in the Present Situation index, caused by a less favorable assessment of business conditions and employment continues to imply that economic conditions, while not as weak as earlier, are nonetheless weak," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

Those claiming business conditions are "good" slipped to 8.0% from 8.8%, while those saying business conditions are "bad" edged up to 45.6% from 44.5%. To top of page

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