The Conference Board today announced that the U.S. leading index increased 0.1 percent in April from the previous month. The leading index now stands at 115.9 (1996=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.8 percent in March and remained unchanged in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index increased 1.8 percent, with nine out of 10 components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 90 percent). The leading index increased only slightly in April, but it is still rising at an average annual rate of 3.5 to 4 percent. The pickup in the growth rate of the leading index last year signaled stronger economic growth, and correspondingly, real GDP increased at a 5.5 percent annual rate over the last three quarters. The current 3.5 to 4 percent ...
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