Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators Index Rose Again in April

By Austen Hufford Features Dow Jones Newswires

A basket of economic indicators rose for the fourth consecutive month in April.

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The Conference Board's leading economic index rose 0.3% to 126.9 last month after it showed gains in January, February and March.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected a 0.4% gain.

Comprised of 10 components, including initial claims for jobless benefits, factory orders and the S&P 500's price change, the index is intended to signal swings in the business cycle and to smooth out some of the volatility of individual indicators.

Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at the Conference Board, said the indicator along with consumer confidence and financial markets show the economy is growing. "First quarter's weak GDP growth is likely a temporary hiccup as the economy returns to its long-term trend," he said. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of national output, grew at a 0.7% annual rate in the January through March quarter, the slowest pace of expansion in three years, the Commerce Department said in April.

The board's coincident index -- designed to reflect current economic conditions and made up of four data points including nonfarm payrolls -- rose 0.3% last month after rising by the same amount in March.

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The index of lagging indicators rose 0.3% last month after rising 0.1% in February.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 18, 2017 11:11 ET (15:11 GMT)