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The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index for the US edged down 0.3% in December to a reading of 111.2. The index has declined in four out of five of the last months.

“The US [Leading Economic Index] declined slightly in December, driven by large negative contributions from rising unemployment insurance claims and a drop in housing permits,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, senior director of economic research at The Conference Board. 

The index’s six-month growth rate turned slightly more negative in the final quarter of 2019, with the manufacturing indicators pointing to continued weakness in the sector, according to Ozyildirim.

“However, financial conditions and consumers’ outlook for the economy remain positive, which should support growth of about 2% through early 2020,” he said.

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