Today, the Conference Board released their Leading Economic Index for activity in the United States for March 2014, reporting a 0.8% increase. The prior reading was 0.5% for February 2014 and 0.1% increase in January 2014. The market expected a 0.7% to 0.8% increase for the period.
Economists at the Conference Board added,
"The LEI rose sharply again, the third consecutive monthly increase," said Ataman Ozyildirim Economist at The Conference Board. "After a winter pause, the leading indicators are gaining momentum and economic growth is gaining traction. While the improvements were broad-based, labor market indicators and the interest rate spread largely drove the March increase, offsetting the negative contribution from building permits. And, for the first time in many months, the consumer outlook is much less negative."
There are ten components of the Leading Economic Index, including:
- Average weekly hours, manufacturing
- Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
- Manufacturers' new orders, consumer goods and materials
- ISM® Index of New Orders
- Manufacturers' new orders, non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
- Building permits, new private housing units
- Stock prices, 500 common stocks
- Leading Credit Index™
- Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
- Average consumer expectations for business conditions
This index is released monthly.
Later this week, the financial markets will receive data on the FHFA Housing Price Index, Existing Home Sales, MBA Mortgage Index, New Home Sales, Crude Inventories, Initial Claims and Continuing Claims, Durable Goods Orders, Natural Gas Inventories, and the Michigan Sentiment reading.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.