Leading economic index up more than expected in January

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The composite of the Leading Economic Index was up 1.0% in January following an unrevised 0.6% increase in December, the Conference Board said Thursday.

The coincident index gained 0.1% in January after an unrevised 0.3% rise in December, while the lagging index grew 0.1% in January, after a 0.7% increase in December.

The LEI stands at 108.1, the coincident index is at 103.0 and the lagging index is at 104.0 The LEI has a baseline of 100, which reflects the level in 2016.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted LEI would be up 0.7% in the month.

“The U.S. LEI accelerated further in January and continues to point to robust economic growth in the first half of 2018. While the recent stock market volatility will not be reflected in the U.S. LEI until next month, consumers’ and business’ outlook on the economy had been improving for several months and should not be greatly impacted,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. “The leading indicators reflect an economy with widespread strengths coming from financial conditions, manufacturing, residential construction, and labor markets.”

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