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Thu May 17, 2012, 11:27 AM

Index of U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Falls 0.1% [View all]

By Alex Kowalski - May 17, 2012 10:28 AM ET

The index (SPX) of U.S. leading indicators unexpectedly fell in April, indicating the pace of economic expansion may cool.

The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months decreased 0.1 percent after a 0.3 percent gain in March, the New York-based group said today. Economists projected the gauge would rise by 0.1 percent, according to the median of 49 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

American employers added jobs at the slowest pace in six months in April, restraining the consumer spending that accounts for 70 percent of the world’s largest economy. Higher claims for unemployment benefits, a decline in building permits and weaker consumer confidence contributed to the decline.

“The economy is in a midst of a soft patch, but I don’t think it’s going to be anything worse than that,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “Economic growth this quarter will come right around where it came in last quarter.”



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