Consumer confidence falls

New York -- Consumer confidence declined more than expected in December, reaching a four-month low as Americans grew concerned about the possibility of higher taxes next year. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index decreased to 74.5 this month from 82.7 in November. Economists had projected a preliminary reading of 82 for December.

The metric of current conditions, which reflects consumers’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items, eased to 89.9 from 90.7 the prior month.

The Michigan index of consumer expectations six months from now, which projects the direction of consumer spending, decreased to a one-year low of 64.6 from 77.6 in October. Americans were more pessimistic about the outlook for their finances, the economy and the labor market, the report said.