The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, decreased 0.2 percent in February, ending a four-month uptrend, the Conference Board reported today. The leading index now stands at 139. Based on revised data, this index increased 0.5 percent in January and increased 0.3 percent in December. During the six-month span through February, the leading index increased 1.5 percent, with eight out of 10 components advancing. Five of the 10 indicators that make up the leading index increased in February. The positive contributors – beginning with the largest positive contributor – were manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods, real money supply, average weekly manufacturing hours, manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials, and interest-rat...
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