Leading economic indicators rose in January and this indicator looks at the next six months. The index gained 0.4% but missed analysts’ consensus estimates of 0.5%.
The leading indicators index tracks 10 components and of the ten, seven rose in today’s report.
The Coincident and Lagging Indicators reports also showed gains.
ETFs reacted mostly positively to yesterday’s and today’s economic reports which showed improvements in unemployment, housing starts and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Manufacturing, along with today’s leading indicators.
At mid-day Friday, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) was up 1 point while crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) gained 0.84%.
From the report:
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.4 percent in January to 94.9 (2004 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in December and a 0.3 percent increase in November.
Said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at The Conference Board: “This fourth consecutive gain in the LEI reflected fairly widespread strength among its components, pointing to somewhat more positive economic conditions in early 2012. The LEI’s increase in January was led not only by improving financial and credit indicators, but also rising average workweek in manufacturing. These both offset consumers’ outlook about the economy, which remained pessimistic, though slightly less so. Meanwhile, the CEI rose again in January as employment, income, and sales data all point to improving current economic conditions despite a lack of contribution from industrial production.”
Added Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board: “Recent data reflect an economy that started the year on a positive note. The CEI shows some small signs of economic strengthening in the fourth quarter and continued to point in this direction in January. The LEI suggests these conditions will continue and could possibly even pick up this spring and summer.”
The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.2 percent in January to 103.5 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in December and no change in November.
The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) increased 0.4 percent in January to 113.8 (2004 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in December and a 0.3 percent increase in November.
Bottom line: The U.S. economy continues to improve, however slowly, and remains at risk from Europe, high unemployment and a skittish consumer.