Photo: AFP/Don Emmert
Photo: AFP/Don Emmert

Despite strong holiday retail sales numbers, US consumers are feeling less optimistic about the future, according to survey data released Thursday.

The Conference Board consumer confidence index fell to its lowest level since July, down to 128.1 in December from 136.4 the month prior. The number is still historically high, but it shows moderating expectations of economic prospects for the new year, according to the research group.

“Expectations regarding job prospects and business conditions weakened, but still suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the short-term,”  Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

“While consumers are ending 2018 on a strong note, back-to-back declines in Expectations are reflective of an increasing concern that the pace of economic growth will begin moderating in the first half of 2019,” she said.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also less favorable, according to the survey results.

US stocks were down sharply on Thursday, with major benchmarks shaving around 2% (as of late morning) off of the incredible 5% rise the day before.