A measure of US consumer confidence posted its sharpest decline in more than three years in December, rattling investors already nervous about the prospect that a global economic slowdown was spilling over into the United States.
In a sign US households were growing more worried about the economy, the Conference Board on Thursday said its consumer confidence index fell this month by 8.3 points to a reading of 136.4, the largest one-month drop since July 2015.
Other data released by the US Labor Department, however, showed the number of new applications for jobless benefits dipping in the latest week.
US stocks, which enjoyed a huge rally on Wednesday, were trading sharply lower after Thursday’s data, with the S&P 500 index down about 1.8 percent early in the afternoon. Prices of US Treasuries were higher, while the US dollar was weaker against a basket of currencies.
US stock prices have plunged in December as investors worried the US…