The Conference Board today announced that the U.S. leading index decreased 0.2 percent in June from the previous month. The leading index now stands at 116.2 (1996=100). Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 in May and increased 0.1 percent in April. During the six-month span through June, the leading index increased 1.5 percent, with eight out of 10 components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals 80 percent). The decrease in leading index for June is the first decline since March 2003, and May's increase was revised down slightly. June's weakness was not widespread, and some of the decline was from the average manufacturing workweek (which was most likely the result of many businesses being closed for President Reagan's funeral). While the leading index is still on an upward trend, its growth rate has slowed in recent months – into the 2.5 to 3.5 percent range (annual rate). The current behavior of the leading index is consistent with real GDP ...
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