Index of leading indicators rises for third straight month in June, business group says

Monday, July 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A key measure of future economic activity increased slightly in June for the third month in a row, in line with analysts' expectations.

The Conference Board reported Monday that its Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose by 0.1 percent in June to 111.8, after a 1.0 percent rise in May and a 0.1 percent rise in April. However, the board said it was too soon to declare the start of a period of steady economic growth.

The index measures where the overall U.S. economy is headed in the next three to six months. It stood at 100 in 1996, its base year.

Four of the 10 components of the leading index rose in June, including the real money supply, stock prices and building permits.

Despite the positive economic reading, stocks traded lower on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 56 points at 9,132, the Nasdaq composite index fell 15 points to 1,693, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 8 points to 985.

The coincident index, which measures current economic conditions, increased 0.1 percent in June, the group reported. The lagging index dropped 0.5 percent.