The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index falls to its lowest level since October 2003

This survey for September runs through the 20th so it incorporated the effects of Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the spike in gasoline prices and less optimistic job market.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.

Despite the sharp drop, the Fed is talking about future interest rate hikes [MarketWatch]. Ironically, it would seem that consumer pessimism is better suited for the housing market, rather than a robust economy, by keeping mortgage rates low.

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