Leading Indicators Slightly Off Again

Published Friday, January 24, 2020 at: 7:00 AM EST

The leading indicators of growth in the economy ran at a slightly slower pace in December, but that's coming off record peaks.

The index of leading economic indicators declined in December, the Conference Board reported on Friday. It was the fourth decline in the past five months.

"The US LEI declined slightly in December, driven by large negative contributions from rising unemployment insurance claims and a drop in housing permits," said Ataman Ozyildirim, a senior economist at The Conference Board.

The six-month growth rate on the LEI, an index comprised of 10 forward-looking metrics of economic activity, turned slightly more negative in the final quarter of 2019, with the manufacturing sector pointing to continued weakness in the sector. "However, financial conditions and consumers' outlook for the economy remain positive," said Mr. Ozyildirim, "which should support growth of about 2% through early 2020."

The LEI's flattening came after its rise to record highs during the 127-month expansionary cycle.

The LEI historically collapses in the year or two before a recession. That's not happening now.

The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, after repeatedly breaking new highs in the previous 10 weeks, lost ground on Friday but nonetheless closed 1% off from its all-time record high.

This article was written by a veteran financial journalist based on data compiled and analyzed by independent economist, Fritz Meyer. While these are sources we believe to be reliable, the information is not intended to be used as financial or tax advice without consulting a professional about your personal situation. Tax laws are subject to change. Indices are unmanaged and not available for direct investment. Investments with higher return potential carry greater risk for loss. No one can predict the future of the stock market or any investment, and past performance is never a guarantee of your future results.

This article was written by a professional financial journalist for Davis & Wehrle, LLC and is not intended as legal or investment advice.

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