By John S. McClenahen For the fourth consecutive month, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declined in November. Its index now stands at 90.5 (1985=100), down 2.4 points from 92.9 in October, the New York-based business research group reported on Nov. 30. However, with its "present situation" index actually rising to 95.2 in November from 94 in October, the very short-term economic outlook isn't entirely bad, says Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "With consumers' assessment of current conditions holding steadfast and intentions to spend for the holiday season up from a year ago, the outlook for retailers is mildly encouraging," says Franco. "But looking beyond the upcoming holidays, the continuing erosion in expectations suggests consumers do not feel the economy is likely to gain major momentum in early 2005."