U.S. Leading Economic Index Climbs More Than Expected In April

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An index of leading U.S. economic indicators increased by more than expected in the month of April, the Conference Board revealed in a report released on Thursday.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.6 percent in April, while revised data showed no change in March.

Economists had expected the index to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

"The U.S. LEI picked up sharply in April, with all components except consumer expectations contributing to the rebound from an essentially flat first quarter," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board.

He added, "Despite a slow start in 2016, labor market and financial indicators, and housing permits all point to a moderate growth trend continuing in 2016."

The increase by the index came as nine of the ten indicators increased in April, with the interest rate spread, average weekly manufacturing hours, and average weekly initial jobless claims making the biggest positive contributions.

The Conference Board said the only negative contributor was average consumer expectations for business conditions.

The report also said the coincident economic index increased by 0.3 percent in April after showing no change in March.

All four indicators that make up the index increased during the month, with industrial production making the biggest positive contribution.

The Conference Board said the lagging economic index also rose by 0.3 percent in April following a 0.5 percent increase in March.

Positive contributions from the average duration of unemployment and commercial and industrial loans outstanding played a big part in the increase by the index.

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