New data confirms Fed’s optimism over US economy

<p>The Conference Board Leading Economic Index unveiled better-than-expected data for the US.</p>

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI), an index of US leading indicators, increased by 0.9 per cent in October, following a 0.7 per cent increase in September.

"The LEI rose sharply in October, with all components gaining over the previous six months," said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board. "Despite a negative contribution from stock prices in October, and minimal contributions from new orders for consumer goods and average workweek in manufacturing, the LEI suggests the US expansion continues to be strong."

According to Bloomberg, it increased more than forecast in October, as gains in manufacturing and easier credit boosted the world’s largest economy. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by the news agency called for an advance of 0.6 per cent.

"The upward trend in the LEI points to continued economic growth through the holiday season and into early 2015,” Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board, said in a statement. “This is consistent with our outlook for relatively good, but not great, consumer demand over the near term."

It also emerged today that US inflation was stable, with consumer prices unchanged in October, as low gasoline costs continued to keep inflation at bay. 

For the past 12 months, overall inflation is up 1.7 per cent, while core inflation is up 1.8 per cent. 

The fresh data echoes the Federal Reserve policymakers who said in minutes of their meeting last month that the US economy was solid and the impact from a slowdown overseas would probably be "quite limited".

However, US markets were mixed in early trading today as poor economic data out of China and Europe prompted concerns about a global slowdown. 

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.1 per cent to 2,047 at 10:00 ET, while the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2 per cent to 17,654. The Nasdaq composite added 0.1 per cent to 4,681.

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