US Economic Activity Slipped by 0.6 percent in May

The Conference Board said its Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell 0.6% to 137.9 in May after it declined 0.1% in April. The index is watched closely because it's designed to predict economic activity three to six months in the future (AP). May reading is the lowest since the October reading of 136.9.

Three of the ten indicators that make up the leading index increased in May. The positive contributors - beginning with the largest positive contributor - were manufacturers' new orders for nondefense capital goods*, manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials*, and interest rate spread. The negative contributors - beginning with the largest negative contributor - were average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance (inverted), index of consumer expectations, real money supply*, average weekly manufacturing hours, building permits, stock prices, and vendor performance. From November to May, the leading index fell by 0.2 percent and declining housing permits made the largest negative contribution over this period. 

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