Following a substantial 0.7% increase in September, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators for Spain was unchanged in October, the latest month for which data are available. The index now stands at 136.6 (1990=100). "The growth rate of the leading index has improved slightly in recent months, to about a 0.5% to 1.5% annual rate, but is still below the 5% to 6% growth reached earlier this year," notes the New York-based business research group. "At the same time, real GDP has been increasing at about a 2.4% annual rate so far this year . . . about the same average rate since mid-2002. The recent behavior of the leading index is consistent with the economy growing at or slightly below this rate in the near term.