U.S. leading indicator rises less than expected in August

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 19, 2014 10:42 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Economic activity in the United States rose less than expected in August, but was still consistent with the economy expanding at a moderate pace for the rest of this year, The Conference Board said on Friday.

The research organization's monthly Leading Economic Index inched up 0.2 percent, after an upwardly revised 1.1 percent increase in July.

Economists polled by Reuters predicted that the index would rise 0.4 percent after July's earlier reported 0.9 percent increase.

The slower-than-expected pace of growth last month, the report said, was driven by dismal applications for housing permits and new orders for non-defense capital goods.

"The leading indicators point to an economy that is continuing to gain traction, but most likely won't repeat its stellar second-quarter performance in the second half," said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board.

The Coincident Economic Index, a measure of current economic activity, continued to expand, "amid improving personal income, employment and retail sales," he added. "However, industrial production registered a slight decrease for the first time in seven months."

Analysts expect the U.S. economy to gain traction in the second half of this year after the economy was hurt earlier by harsh winter conditions that put a damper on economic activity across the board.

(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Andrea Ricci)