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Less spending

CONSUMER spending in the United States fell in December for a record sixth consecutive month, a slump that is likely to persist as companies slash payrolls. The 1 percent drop in purchases was larger than forecast and followed a 0.8 percent dip in November, the Commerce Department said yesterday in Washington.

The Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation was little changed for a third month. The loss of almost 2.6 million jobs last year and record declines in home values have shaken confidence, indicating sales and prices are likely to keep retreating.


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