Friday, 21 January 2005

US leading index continues to rise

The Conference Board's index of leading indicators rose for the second month in a row in December, which should ease concerns of an impending deceleration in the US economy.

The leading index increased 0.2 percent, the coincident index increased 0.3 percent and the lagging index remained unchanged in December.

The rise in the leading index in December brings it to 115.4, and follows November's revised 0.3 percent increase and October's 0.3 percent decline. In fact, until November, the leading index had posted five consecutive months of declines.

The Conference Board points out that the growth rate of the leading index in the second half of 2004 was below its long-term trend of 1.5 percent annually, but is not at a rate that has historically been associated with a recession. During the six-month span through December, the leading index decreased 0.9 percent, with six out of ten components advancing (diffusion index, six-month span equals sixty percent).

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