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First Cut: March Leading Economic Index up due to claims, stocks, and business expectations

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index for March was up 0.4% from February after up 0.1% in February from January (previously up 0.2%). The tone of the index components was overall quite good with 8 of 10 making positive contributions and two at neutral.

The strongest contributions came from initial jobless claims, followed by business expectations, stock prices, and the Conference Board’s Leading Credit Index. With no negative contributions, there was nothing to offset the gains.

In spite of concerns about slower growth and the risks of recession, the outlook for modest-to-moderate expansion remains in place.

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