March leading economic index gains as expected

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The composite of the Leading Economic Index was up 0.4% in March following a revised 0.1% rise in February, the Conference Board said Thursday.

The coincident index rose 0.1% in March after a 0.1% rise in February, while the lagging index gained 0.1% in March, after a flat reading in February.

The LEI stands at 111.9, the coincident index is at 105.8 and the lagging index is at 107.0. The LEI has a baseline of 100, which reflects the level in 2016.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted LEI would be up 0.4% in the month.

“The US LEI picked up in March with labor markets, consumers’ outlook, and financial conditions making the largest contributions,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. “Despite the relatively large gain in March, the trend in the US LEI continues to moderate, suggesting that growth in the US economy is likely to decelerate toward its long term potential of about 2 percent by year end.”

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