Highlighting risks of a contraction, U.S. leading economic indicators fell for a fifth consecutive month in February, the Conference Board reported March 20.
The business research group said its forward-looking index of leading economic indicators declined 0.3% in February, following a 0.4% decline in January.
"The economy may be grinding to a halt. The leading index has declined five months in a row, and the coincident index stopped increasing in October. Growth will be weak this spring. A small contraction in economic activity cannot be ruled out. The economic signals are flashing yellow," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board.
The Conference Board said the weak signals resulted from higher claims for unemployment insurance, weaker building permits and softer consumer expectations.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008