The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, increased 0.9 percent in October, the Conference Board reported today. The leading index now stands at 137.9. Based on revised data, this index decreased 0.8 percent in September and remained unchanged in August. During the six-month span through October, the leading index increased 1.2 percent, with seven out of 10 components advancing. The leading index increased sharply in October offsetting the large decrease in September, which partly reflects the economic impact of the hurricanes, which hit the Gulf region in late August and September. In addition, October's increase was widespread among the leading indicators, with seven of the 10 indicators advancing. The largest positive contributors to the leading index were (inverted) initial claims for unemployment insurance and average weekly hours in manufacturing, whereas the largest negative contributors were housing permits and stock prices. The leading index has s...
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