Leading Economic Indicators Index Falls in September

By Allison Prang Features Dow Jones Newswires

An economic index that measures business trends decreased slightly in September as recent hurricanes put a dent in activity, marking the first time the index has fallen in the past year.

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The Conference Board Leading Economic Index fell 0.2% to 128.6 last month. The index had risen in both July and August. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal were expecting the index to rise 0.2%.

Metrics including average workweek, building permits and average consumer expectations for business conditions fell, while employment insurance claims and stock prices rose slightly.

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, the Conference Board's director of business cycles and growth research, said the index "remains consistent with continuing solid growth in the U.S. economy for the second half of the year."

"The source of weakness was concentrated in labor markets and residential construction, while the majority of the LEI components continued to contribute positively," Mr. Ozyildirim said.

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The board's coincident index -- designed to reflect current economic conditions -- rose 0.1% in September from August.

The Lagging Economic Index fell by 0.1% in September, despite seeing increases in the two prior months.

Write to Allison Prang at allison.prang@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 19, 2017 12:06 ET (16:06 GMT)