As most forecasts continue to project only a modest economic slowdown for the U.S. this year, the Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators for the United States has fallen for the fourth consecutive month. The index slipped two-tenths of a percentage point in April to 114.5 (1996=100).
"The leading index has decline at a 1% annual rate over the last six months, and there have been more weaknesses than strengths among the components in recent months," notes the New York-based business research group.
However, actual contraction of the U.S. economy seems not to be in the offing. "The recent weakness of the leasing index is consistent with the economy continuing to expand in the near term, but at a slower pace," says the Conference Board.