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Economy in Brief

U.S. Leading Indicators Post Another Weak Gain
by Tom Moeller October 20, 2011

The Conference Board reported that its Leading Economic Indicators index rose 0.2% during September following an unrevised 0.3% August increase. The gain matched the Consensus forecast. The 1-month diffusion index improved to a still-low 55%. However, the 6-month diffusion index fell to its lowest level (40%) since January, 2009. A steeper interest rate yield curve had the largest positive effect on the leaders while lower building permits had the largest negative effect. Changes in the other components were negligible.

The index of coincident indicators ticked up just 0.1% following a downwardly revised 0.1% August dip. The 1-month diffusion index rose to 100%, where the six-month series held. However, the six-month growth rate of 1.6% was near its low.

In a sign that economic excesses built further, the September lagging indicator index rose 0.2%. The ratio of coincident-to-lagging indicators, which tends to "lead" the "leaders," held at its depressed level.

The Conference Board figures are available in Haver's BCI database; the components are available there, and most are also in USECON. The forecast figure is the Consensus in the AS1REPNA database. Visit the Conference Board's site for coverage of leading indicator series from around the world.

Business Cycle Indicators(%) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y 2010 2009 2008
Leading 0.2 0.3 0.6 5.9 7.8 0.3 -3.1
Coincident 0.1 -0.1 0.2 1.9 1.1 -5.4 -1.3
Lagging 0.2 0.2 0.3 1.9 -2.9 -1.9 3.1
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