Nov. 15, 2006 -- Customer satisfaction in the quality of U.S. goods and services remained steady over the third quarter, according to the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index, released Tuesday.

The index, a gauge of future consumer spending based on data from more than 200 businesses, was unchanged from the previous quarter at a near record-high of 74.4 on a 100-point scale.

"High levels of buyer satisfaction suggest higher spending, but consumers' inclination to spend is always tempered by the availability of cash and credit," University of Michigan professor Claes Fornell said in a statement.

Consumer spending grew by 3.1 percent over the third quarter, according to preliminary estimates by the Commerce Department.

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