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Financial News: U.S. Leading Economic Index Unexpectedly Edges Lower In

U.S. Leading Economic Index Unexpectedly Edges Lower In September

10/19/2017 - 10:15:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - For the first time in the last twelve months, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected drop by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of September.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index dipped by 0.2 percent in September after climbing by 0.4 percent in August. Economists had expected the index to inch up by 0.1 percent.

Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, said the unexpected drop by the index was partly a result of the temporary impact of recent hurricanes.

"The source of weakness was concentrated in labor markets and residential construction, while the majority of the LEI components continued to contribute positively," said Ozyildirim.

He added, "Despite September's decline, the trend in the US LEI remains consistent with continuing solid growth in the US economy for the second half of the year."

The modest decrease by the index reflected negative contributions from average weekly jobless claims, building permits, average weekly manufacturing hours, and manufacturers' new orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft.

The downside was limited by positive contributions from the ISM new orders index, the interest rate spread, the Leading Credit Index, stock prices, average consumer expectations for business conditions, and manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials.

The report also said the coincident economic index crept up by 0.1 percent in September after coming in unchanged in the previous month.

Positive contributions from personal income less transfer payments, industrial production and manufacturing and trade sales were partly offset by a negative contribution from non-farm payroll employment.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board said the lagging economic index edged down by 0.1 percent in September following a 0.4 percent increase in August.

The modest decrease by the index reflected negative contributions from the average duration of unemployment and the change in the index of labor cost per unit of output, manufacturing.

Positive contributions from the change in consumer prices for services, commercial and industrial loans outstanding and the ratio of consumer installment credit outstanding to personal income helped limit the downside.

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