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Leading Indicators Drop in Sign Growth May Slow This Summer

Thursday, 20 May 2010 10:21 AM

A private research group's index of leading economic indicators unexpectedly slipped in April, its first drop in more than a year and a sign that growth could slow this summer.

The Conference Board said its gauge of future economic activity edged down 0.1 percent last month, the first decline since March 2009. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a gain of 0.2 percent.

The index is designed to forecast economic activity in the next three to six months.

The decline "suggests a recovery that will continue through summer, although it could lose a little steam," said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board.

While the recovery from the recession has spread more broadly through the U.S. economy this spring, a big drop-off in plans to build homes and a debt crisis in Europe may have weighed on growth, discouraging employers from hiring.

The research group also revised its March growth estimate to 1.3 percent, slightly less than the 1.4 percent growth it had previously estimated.

Six of the index's 10 components deteriorated in April. The biggest drags on the index: U.S. residents filed fewer applications to build homes, vendors were slower in delivering supplies to companies, the unemployed filed more claims for jobless aid and consumers' confidence dropped.

Four components improved, including higher stock prices, on average; a sharper difference between overnight and 10-year borrowing costs, historically a positive signal; more hours worked in factories and an increase in manufacturers' orders for capital goods.

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A private research group's index of leading economic indicators unexpectedly slipped in April, its first drop in more than a year and a sign that growth could slow this summer. The Conference Board said its gauge of future economic activity edged down 0.1 percent last...
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2010-21-20
Thursday, 20 May 2010 10:21 AM
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