A man wears a protective mask while shopping at BJ’s Wholesale Club market at the Palisades Center shopping mall during the coronavirus outbreak in West Nyack, New York, March 14, 2020.

Mike Segar | Reuters

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A measure of U.S. consumer confidence fell sharply in March as people grapple with the global coronavirus outbreak. 

The Conference Board said Tuesday its consumer confidence index dropped to 120 this month from 132.6 in February. To be sure, the print was better than the 110 number economists polled by Dow Jones expected.

“Consumer confidence declined sharply in March due to a deterioration in the short-term outlook,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “The intensification of COVID-19 and extreme volatility in the financial markets have increased uncertainty about the outlook for the economy and jobs. March’s decline in confidence is more in line with a severe contraction – rather than a temporary shock – and further declines are sure to follow.”

More than 800,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Of those cases, more than 164,000 are in the U.S. Italy also has over 100,000 confirmed cases. 

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