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CONSUMER CONFIDENCE EDGES LOWER

Consumer confidence edged lower in December but Americans had a slightly more optimistic outlook for the economy in the next six months, the Conference Board reported Thursday.

The business-supported research group said its consumer confidence index, compiled from a survey of consumers across the country, slipped to 61.3 from 61.7 in November. A year ago, the index stood at 113.

Of those questioned, 5.9 percent said they planned to buy a car, down from 6.5 percent in November and off from more than 7 percent a year earlier.

However, 26 percent of those surveyed said they expected business conditions to worsen over the next six months; that figure was down from 30 percent in November.

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