Industry News

Economy posts sharp increase

U.S. leading index grows for fourth month

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The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, increased 1.1 percent in January, the Conference Board reported today. The leading index now stands at 140.1. Based on revised data, this index increased 0.3 percent in December and increased 0.9 percent in November. During the six-month span through January, the leading index increased 2.3 percent, which is a 4.7 percent annual rate, with nine out of 10 components advancing. Six of the 10 indicators that make up the leading index increased in January. The positive contributors -- beginning with the largest positive contributor -- were average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), real money supply, building permits, vendor performance, stock prices, and interest-rate spread. The negative contributor was index of consumer expectations. The average weekly manufacturing hours, manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials, and manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods held s...