NEW YORK (AP) — A gauge of future business activity fell last month, indicating the economy could be dragged down further amid rising costs and housing woes, a business research group said Thursday.
The Conference Board said its index of leading indicators dropped 0.4 percent in November, after falling 0.5 percent in October and rising by a slight 0.1 percent in September.
It was at 136.3 in November, versus a revised 136.9 in the previous month.
Last month's drop was close to what economists surveyed by Thomson/IFR had predicted, who on average said there would be a drop of 0.5 percent.
The index is watched as an indicator of where the U.S. economy is headed, and persistent weakness can signal a recession in three to six months. Many economist believe the current slowdown could mean a full recession in 2008.
Ten indicators make up the leading index. Seven of them fell: stock prices, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, index of consumer expectations, real money supply, building permits, interest rate spread and manufacturers new orders for consumer goods and materials.