Consumer confidence declines from six-year high

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The August results are somewhat at odds with the results of The Conference Board's monthly survey out Tuesday. That survey found consumer sentiment rebounding slightly in August from July.

Overall the relatively robust consumer confidence level could bode well for an economy that faces a number of possible shocks in the coming months. 

Rising interest rates could curtail consumer spending, and investment values could decline if markets become spooked by a quick end to easy money by the Federal Reserve and a debt ceiling showdown between the White House and Congress.

“The August survey indicates that the recent confidence gains have stalled as consumers await decisions on the federal budget and monetary policy. Unlike a year ago, consumers do not anticipate that the budgetary issues will engender a similar congressional stalemate, but few express a great deal of confidence in the economic policies of the government," said University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin. 

"A renewed congressional storm as well as rising market interest rates could trim the anticipated gains in consumer spending and weaken the pace of overall economic growth. Without this unneeded harm, consumer confidence will regain its footing and act to expand spending in the year ahead," he added.