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U.S. Leading Economic Index Climbs Much More Than Expected In June

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Pointing to continued strength in the economic outlook for the remainder of the year, the Conference Board released a report on Thursday showing another bigger than expected increase by its index of leading U.S. economic indicators.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.6 percent in June following an upwardly revised 0.8 percent increase in May.

Economists had expected the index to edge up by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.7 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, said, "Housing permits and the interest rate spread drove the latest gain in the LEI, while labor market indicators such as average workweek and initial claims remained unchanged."

The much bigger than expected increase by the leading index reflected increases by six of the ten indicators that make up the index.

Along with building permits and the interest rate spread, average consumer expectations for business conditions, the Leading Credit Index, manufacturers' new orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, and the ISM new orders index also made positive contributions.

The Conference Board also said the coincident economic index rose by 0.2 percent in June, matching the upwardly revised increase seen in May.

The uptick by the coincident economic index reflected positive contributions from all four indicators that make up the index.

Additionally, the report said the lagging economic index advanced by 0.7 percent in June after inching up by 0.1 percent in the previous month.

The average duration of unemployment, commercial and industrial loans outstanding, the change in CPI for services and the ratio of consumer installment credit outstanding to personal income made positive contributions.

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