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U.S. consumer confidence holds steady at a 17-month high in July

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FILE PHOTO: Customers visit Macy's flagship store in New York City, New York

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence hovered at a 17-month high in July, suggesting the economy maintained its strong growth clip at the start of the third quarter.

The Conference Board said on Tuesday its consumer confidence index was little changed at a reading of 129.1 this month, the highest level since February 2020. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index falling to 123.9. The survey places more emphasis on the labor market.

"Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions held steady, suggesting economic growth in third quarter is off to a strong start," said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers' optimism about the short-term outlook didn’t waver, and they continued to expect that business conditions, jobs, and personal financial prospects will improve."

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by William Maclean)

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