With all of the noise about Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) this morning, the markets were able to regain focus due to strong earnings from Citigourp (NYSE:C) and another strong Leading Indicators report from the Conference Board. It became a past versus future battle. Should you invest based on an event from 3 years ago or one that predicts the next 3 to 6 months? We've obviously harped on the importance of the Leading Indicators Index for a long time.
The index was up a strong 1.4% in March easily surpassing estimates of 1.0% and February was also raised to 0.4% from 0.1%. All in all 1.7% was added to the index. The index is now at its highest level. What strikes me as odd is that the Conference Board quotes remain somewhat tepid. The index has grown solidly for a year now and the 6 month change is at 5.2% (or 10.6% on an annual pace) yet they use the term 'slow recovery'. Their numbers suggest anything but that.
- Says Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “The U.S. LEI has risen steadily for a year, and its six-month growth rate has remained fairly stable in recent months – led by improvements in financial and labor market indicators. Payroll employment made its first substantial contribution to the coincident economic index, suggesting a recovery that is beginning to gain traction.”
- Adds Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “The indicators point to a slow recovery that should continue over the next few months. The leading, coincident and lagging series are rising. Strength of demand remains the big question going forward. Improvement in employment and income will be the key factors in whether consumers push the recovery on a stronger path.”
Disclosure: No positions