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Economy in Brief

Leading Indicators Fell
by Tom Moeller July 22, 2004

The June Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators reported by the Conference Board fell unexpectedly by 0.2%. A 0.4% increase had been expected. It was the first decline since March of last year.

Though 55% of the component series rose last month, shorter weekly hours and lower building permits combined to subtract over 0.3 percentage points from the m/m change.

Over a six-month span 90% of the leaders' components have risen. During the last ten years there has been a 63% correlation between the six-month diffusion index of the leaders and quarterly growth in real GDP.

The leading index is based on eight previously reported economic data series and two that are estimated.

The coincident indicators ticked 0.1% higher, the gain held back by a decline in industrial production.

The ratio of coincident-to-lagging indicators rose slightly to another record level. The ratio is an indicator of excess relative to actual economic performance.

Visit the Conference Board's site for coverage of leading indicator series from around the world.

Business Cycle Indicators June May Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Leading -0.2% 0.4% 3.8% 1.3% 2.2% -0.8%
Coincident 0.1% 0.3% 2.8% 0.4% -0.5% -0.5%
Lagging 0.0% 0.1% -2.0% -2.2% -2.8% -1.4%
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