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Reply #58: U.S. Economy Seen Expanding Modestly [View All]

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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-19-07 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #40
58. U.S. Economy Seen Expanding Modestly
Leading Indicators Rise 0.1 Percent in March, Pointing to Modest Growth

NEW YORK (AP) -- A barometer of future economic growth rose a tepid 0.1 percent in March, hinting that the U.S. should expect only a meager expansion in the coming months, a private research group said Thursday.

The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators climbed an expected 0.1 percent to 137.4 last month. The index is designed to forecast economic activity over the next three to six months.

The latest reading reverses two consecutive months of declines. Despite the latest increase, the index is still below its most recent high of 138 in January 2006.

The reading tracks 10 economic indicators. Six of those readings were positive in March: initial unemployment claims, weekly manufacturing hours, real money supply, vendor performance, building permits, and manufacturers' new orders.

The negative contributors were stock prices, consumer expectations, interest rate spread and manufacturers' new orders.

"It's kind of an encouraging report in the sense that the positive contributors were from the business sector," said Gary Bigg, an economist with Bank of America.

Negative contributors, such consumer expectations, should rebound next month in response to recent gains in the stock market, he said. Still, Bigg said the reading indicated fairly sluggish growth for the remainder of the year.

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