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The American consumer, hunkered down since this past September, is showing no signs of rebounding any time soon, remaining on the defensive in the midst of a historic economic downturn compounded by a headline-grabbing banking sector crisis.
The latest round of consumer-related data, including last week's retail sales for December and January's Consumer Sentiment index, suggest that the reality of the household sector's situation is at least as bleak as had been feared.
These reports showed that it is not just the actual spending that has suffered greatly in the last two quarters but also that the consumer's mood has turned alarmingly sour during that period.
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