US consumer confidence took a dive in February after the closely-monitored Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board fell to a 10-month low of 46, down from a revised 56.5 in January.
The index still remains far away from the 90 points required to show that the world’s largest economy is on solid footing.
Furthermore, the reading is still below the reading of 61.4 recorded in September 2008 - at the height of the global financial crisis. Since the index commenced in 1967, the average reading has been 95.6.
Today’s figures knocked investors’ confidence with the main Dow Jones index down 72 points to 10,312.
The Nasdaq composite index lost 26.17 points to 2,215.86, while the S&P 500 index was down 10.45 points to 1,097.55.
The figures came as several US retailers reported stronger profits but weak sales.
For the three months to 31 January, Macy’s made a profit of $466 million (£302 million), while Home Depot recorded a $342 million profit.
Meanwhile, Target recorded a quarterly profit rise of 54% against a year earlier to $936 million, while profits at Sears more than doubled to $430 million.
Last week, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, reported weaker than expected sales. The figures from the US retailing giant raised fears over US consumer spending.
According to Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Centre: “The combination of earnings and job anxieties is likely to continue to curb spending.”