Slump in US confidence brings fears of new recession

Confidence among US consumers has unexpectedly dropped to its lowest level in two-and-a-half years, reigniting fears that the economy could fall back into recession despite recent reassuring data on jobs and manufacturing.

The Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes fell to its lowest level since March 2009 as consumers fretted about their job and income prospects. Separate data showed that house prices in August remained flat despite hopes for a small rise.