Consumer Confidence Plunges

Concerns that the U.S. might be heading toward a double-dip recession has plunged the consumer confidence index for August to its lowest level in more than two years. The industry group Conference Board said its index sank to 44.5 from July’s 59.2. Economists had expected a much smaller decline. The country’s credit rating downgrade and the stock market plunge in the past weeks also contributed to consumers tightening their belts.