Money Matters - Simplified

U.S. leading indicators rise 0.5 percent

New York -- The U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose 0.5 percent in October, the Conference Board said Thursday.

The rise was in line with the consensus forecast.

The headline index rose to 111.3. The index us up at an annual rate of 3.3 percent with a six-month change of 1.6 percent, a sharp drop from the 4.6 percent rise in the prior six-month period.

Six of the 10 index components rose in October with increases in hours worked in the manufacturing sector, stock prices and in building permits issued. Average weekly unemployment benefit claims fell slightly, but not enough to contribute to the increase in the headline index. New orders for manufacturing goods also "held steady" the Conference Board said.

"The economy is slow, but latest data on the U.S. LEI suggest that change may be around the corner. Expect modest holiday sales, driven by steep discounting. But following a post-holiday lull, the indicators are suggesting a mild pickup this spring," said Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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