More than reversing a hurricane-driven eight-tenths percent decline in September, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators for the U.S. increased nine-tenths of a percentage point in October, beating most economists' expectations. The index now stands at 137.9 (1996=100). The index provides a preview of the economy's direction for the next three to six months.
During the six-month period through October, the leading index for the U.S. increased 1.2%.
In October, seven of the 10 indicators that constitute the leading index advanced, and initial jobless claims and weekly manufacturing hours were the biggest contributors to the positive performance, says the Conference Board, a New York-based business research group.