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More consumers expressed concern regarding the economy in June, reversing a three-month stretch of growing optimism, according to survey data Discover Financial Services released today. The Riverwoods, Ill.-based company's U.S. Spending Monitor last month fell slightly to 85.6 from 86.2 in May. Discover set the index at 100 when it introduced it in May 2007. Some 59% of consumers surveyed in June said economic conditions were poor, four percentage points higher than the previous month and the first increase since February. The percentage of respondents that said they thought the economy was getting worse held steady in June at 49%. "The optimism we were seeing from consumers in terms of the economy over the past few months may have hit a roadblock in June," Julie Loeger, Discover senior vice president of brand and product management, says of the survey results. "With unemployment still rising and uncertainty as to whether the economic recession is ending, consumers are seeing no reason to change the spending restraint they've exhibited over the last several months." Thirty-five percent of respondents in June said they expected to spend more on household expenses, an increase of five percentage points from May and an increase of 10 percentage points over the previous two months. To compensate for an increase in household expenses, consumers responding to the survey planned cutbacks on discretionary purchases such as going out to dinner or the movies, the survey found. Some 51% of respondents said they expect to spend less in the month ahead on discretionary purchases, an increase of two percentage points from the previous month.


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