A survey conducted by Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services has led it to be "cautiously optimistic" that consumer spending by Americans will grow this holiday season despite an economic downturn. The organization said the results support its earlier 3.0-3.5% sales gain forecast, which would be the slowest pace in a decade. A majority of the 1,100 respondents said they do not plan to reduce holiday spending from last year, and only 18% said they expect their financial position to deteriorate over the next six months. Gas prices are a major concern, but job security remains stable. "Despite a challenging economic environment, which many in our survey believe will worsen, the American consumer perseveres," S&P Equity Research Services said in a statement. The organization advised "tempered optimism" in view of the possible effect the housing downturn could have on confidence in 2008 as well as the effect of rising energy costs. "While Standard & Poor's believes that holiday sales will be up modestly, we still stress investors take a cautious approach," the statement said.
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