Economic Report: U.S. economy stabilizes ahead of holiday season, leading indicator shows

Economic Report: U.S. economy stabilizes ahead of holiday season, leading indicator shows

19 Dec    Finance News
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The U.S. economy is getting more good news just in time for the holiday season.

The numbers: The U.S. economy appeared to stabilize just before the holiday season after a late-summer swoon, according to an index that measures the nation’s health.

The leading economic index was flat in November, breaking a string of three straight declines, the Conference Board said Thursday.

What happened: Big stock-market gains, improved consumer confidence and stronger home sales reflected a firming up in the economy last month. They offset some weakness in labor markets and manufacturing.

Read: Jobless claims fall back in mid-December after spiking to a more than two-year high

The LEI is a weighted gauge of 10 indicators designed to signal business-cycle peaks and valleys.

Big picture: The U.S. economy has slowed to a modest pace of growth, but talk of recession has faded. A series of interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and the Trump administration’s agreement with China to ratchet down trade tensions has bolstered consumer confidence and driven the U.S. stock market to fresh records.

Economists predict more of the same for early 2020.

Read: CEOs lower forecast for U.S. economy for the seventh quarter in a row

What they are saying?: “While the six-month growth rate of the [index] remains slightly negative, the Index suggests that economic growth is likely to stabilize around 2% in 2020,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the board.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.23% and S&P 500 SPX, +0.18% rose in Thursday trades. The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.64% edged up to 1.93%.

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