U.S. Leading Indicators Up for Seventh Month in Row

The Conference Board index edged up 0.3%, following a 1% gain in September and 0.4% rise in August

The forward-looking U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose nearly as expected in October, the Conference Board said on Nov. 19, in a sign that economic recovery from recession is on track.

The index edged up 0.3%, following a 1% gain in September and 0.4% rise in August, the business research firm said.

Most economists had expected a 0.4% rise in the index, which is based on data such as manufacturing hours worked, stock prices and consumer expectations,

"The data indicate that economic recovery is finally setting in," said Ken Goldstein, a Conference Board economist. "We can expect slow growth through the first half of 2010. The pace of growth, however, will depend critically on how much demand picks up, and how soon," he said.

Factors such as interest rates, initial unemployment insurance claims and stock prices contributed positively to the index, more than offsetting declines in such areas as consumer expectations and home construction, the firm said.

Six of the 10 indicators that make up leading economic indicators increased in October.

The index of coincident indicators, a gauge of current economic activity, was unchanged in October after falling 0.1% the prior month and rising by the same margin in August.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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