Friday, 22 May 2009

US leading index and eurozone PMIs rise

The US economy continues to show increasing signs of an end to the recession. Bloomberg reports:

The index of U.S. leading economic indicators rose more than forecast and a manufacturing gauge improved in signs the deepest recession in five decades could end later this year.

The Conference Board’s leading gauge increased 1 percent in April, the biggest gain since November 2005, the New York-based group said today. The index points to the direction of the economy over the next three to six months...

For the first time since the recession started in December 2007, the change in the leading index over the last six months, on an annualized basis, surpassed the year-over-year measure as both improved. That also happened before the end of the previous two recessions.

The factory industry’s contraction in the Philadelphia region slowed as shipments and employment improved, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said in its report...

The Philadelphia Fed’s general economic index climbed to minus 22.6 this month from minus 24.4 in April, the bank said today. Negative numbers signal contraction...

Initial jobless claims fell by 12,000 to 631,000 in the week ended May 16, from a revised 643,000 the prior week that was higher than initially estimated, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The total number of people collecting benefits rose to 6.66 million, a record reading for a 16th straight week, and a sign companies are still not hiring.

Europe also revealed signs of improvement on Thursday. The Markit flash euro-zone composite PMI rose to an eight-month high of 43.9 in May from 41.1 in April. The services index rose to 44.7 from 43.8 in April and the manufacturing index rose to 40.5 from 36.8.

In the UK, retail sales reportedly rose 0.9 percent in April. On the downside, however, bank lending and business investment fell.

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