Economic Indicator Falls, Signals Further Slowdown

Conference Board's gauge of future business activity dropped 0.4 percent in November, indicating the economy could be dragged down further amid rising costs and housing woes.

NEW YORK (AP) β€” 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.
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