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U.S. Leading Economic Index Unexpectedly Edges Lower In September

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Partly reflecting weakness in the manufacturing sector, the Conference Board released a report on Friday showing an unexpected drop in its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators in the month of September.

The Conference Board said its leading economic index edged down by 0.1 percent in September after dipping by a revised 0.2 percent in August.

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

Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board, said the drop by the index reflected weaknesses in the manufacturing sector and the interest rate spread, which were only partially offset by rising stock prices and a positive contribution from the Leading Credit Index.

"The LEI reflects uncertainty in the outlook and falling business expectations, brought on by the downturn in the industrial sector and trade disputes," said Ozyildirim.

He added, "Looking ahead, the LEI is consistent with an economy that is still growing, albeit more slowly, through the end of the year and into 2020."

The report also said the coincident economic index was unchanged in September after rising by 0.3 percent in August, while the lagging economic index crept up by 0.1 percent after falling by 0.4 percent.

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