Consumer confidence skidded in July for the first time since April, underscoring ongoing worries about jobs and the future of the U.S. economy.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 116.5 in July, down from a revised 118.9 in June.

"The moderate decline in confidence signals slow economic growth ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

Consumers felt better about their present economic situation, however, suggesting that consumer spending should hold up in spite of the deteriorating labor market, Franco said.

The Conference Board index, based on a monthly survey of some 5,000 U.S. households, is considered a key indicator because consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the nation's economic activity. The index compares results with its base year, 1985, when it stood at 100.

The markets were up moderately following the release of the report, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 40 points to 10,442 and the Nasdaq composite index up 2 points to 2,020.