In a dark portent for the crucial holiday shopping season, U.S. consumer confidence extended its October slide into November, easing to a reading of 70.4 as measured by the Conference Board. "Sentiment regarding current conditions was mixed, with consumers saying the job market had strengthened, while economic conditions had slowed. All in all, with such uncertainty prevailing, this could be a challenging holiday season for retailers," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.

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