U.S. Leading Economic Index Unexpectedly Edges Lower In August


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(RTTNews.com) - A reading on leading U.S. economic indicators unexpectedly saw a modest decrease in the month of August, the Conference Board revealed in a report on Thursday.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index edged down by 0.2 percent after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.5 percent.

Economists had expected the index to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.4 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

He added, "Although strengths and weaknesses among the leading indicators are roughly balanced, positive contributions from the financial indicators were more than offset by weakening of non-financial indicators, such as leading indicators of labor markets, suggesting some risks to growth persist."

The modest drop reflected negative contributions from six of the ten indicators that make up the index, including average weekly manufacturing hours, the ISM new orders index, and average weekly initial jobless claims.

Positive contributions from the interest rate spread, stock prices, the Leading Credit Index, and manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials limited the downside.

Meanwhile, the report also said the coincident economic index inched up by 0.1 percent in August following a 0.3 percent increase in July.

The uptick reflected positive contributions from employees on non-farm payrolls, personal income less transfer payments and manufacturing and trade sales.

The lagging economic also rose by 0.2 percent for the second straight month, reflecting positive contributions from four of its seven components.

The average duration of unemployment, the change in CPI for services, the ratio of consumer installment credit outstanding to personal income and the change in the index of labor cost per unit of manufacturing output made positive contributions.

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