US consumer confidence slid to its lowest point in almost a year as worries about job availability, high gasoline prices and the severity of the housing slump weighed on peoples' minds.
The RBC Cash Index showed that confidence tumbled to 76.1 in July. That was considerably weaker than June's 81.4 and was the worst reading since last August. The index is based on the results from the international polling firm Ipsos.
Another factor depressing consumers' feelings about the future, according to the Index, is whether the yearlong housing slump will worsen and drag down home prices. During the five-year housing boom, rising home values made people feel more wealthy. They borrowed against their homes and spent lavishly. Weaker home values — a byproduct of the housing slump — have made some more cautious.
A gauge looking at peoples' sentiments about investing, including their comfort in making major purchases, dipped to 83.6 in July, down from 86.1 in June.
The overall confidence index is benchmarked to a reading of 100 on January 2002, when Ipsos started the survey. The RBC consumer confidence index was based on responses from 1,004 adults surveyed last week about their attitudes on personal finance and the economy. Results of the survey had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.