Industry News

Economy cools in April

Fewer building permits impact leading indicator

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The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, fell in April, the Conference Board reported today. The leading index decreased 0.1 percent last month and now stands at 138.9. Based on revised data, this index increased 0.4 percent in March and decreased 0.4 percent in February. During the six-month span through April, the leading index increased 1.5 percent, with eight out of 10 components advancing. Housing permits made the largest negative contribution to the leading index in April. However, the strengths among the leading indicators have been widespread in recent months. Three of the 10 indicators that make up the leading index increased in April. The positive contributors -- beginning with the largest positive contributor -- were vendor performance, stock prices, and interest-rate spread. The negative contributors -- beginning with the largest negative contributor -- were building permits, manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods, index of consumer ...