Consumer confidence plummets this month

Consumer confidence fell in February to the lowest level in seven months as Americans’ assessment of economic conditions weakened.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index dipped to 92.2 this month, down from a reading of 97.8 in January, which had been a three-month high.

The February reading was the lowest since confidence stood at 91.0 in July.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions weakened primarily because of less-favorable views about business conditions.

The percentage of people saying business conditions were good fell to 26 percent, down from 27.7 percent, while the percentage that said business conditions were bad increased to 19.8 percent from 18.8 percent.

Consumers were also less positive about the labor market.

Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board, said the continued turbulence in financial markets could be depressing confidence.

But he said views on current conditions, even with the February decline, remained at levels that suggest the economy will keep growing at a moderate pace in coming months.

— Associated Press

Mars candy bars recalled in 55 nations

U.S. chocolate maker Mars said Tuesday that it is recalling candy bars and other items in 55 countries in Europe and elsewhere after plastic was found in one of its products.

Roel Govers, spokesman for Mars in the Netherlands, told the Associated Press that the recall affects 55 countries but would not provide further details,.

Mars in Germany confirmed that it was one of the countries affected and said in a statement that the recall affected products with “best before” dates from June 19, 2016, to Jan. 8, 2017.

The Dutch food-safety authority posted what it said was a Mars news release on its website, saying a piece of plastic had been found in a product that could lead to choking. It listed affected products as Mars, Milky Way, Snickers, Celebrations and Minis Mix.

Mars is a private company based in McLean, Va.

— Associated Press

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