Although the economic outlook improved for the second straight month in October, sluggish real estate markets and weaker corporate profit growth will keep the economy on a slow track, The Conference Board reported today. The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of future economic conditions, gained 0.2 percent in October to 138.3, following a 0.4 increase in September and a 0.3 percent decline in August. "In sum, the impact of a slower housing market on consumers and slower profit growth on business isn't completely offset by lower gas prices and a rising stock market," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board, a nonprofit research group. "This suggests that the economy is unlikely either to reheat or to get significantly cooler. Instead, the kind of slow growth now being experienced could continue right through the winter and into the spring." Six of the 10 indicators that make up the leading index increased in October: money supply, consumer expectations, stock pri...
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