Largest-Ever 14-Mo. Increase of the Leading Index
June 17 (Bloomberg) -- "The index of U.S. leading indicators rose 0.4 percent in May, signaling the world’s largest economy will keep expanding in the second half of the year. The Conference Board revised April data to show no change rather than the previously reported 0.1 percent drop."
Remember all of the gloomy headlines after last month's original estimate of a 0.1 point decrease (Note: the Bloomberg report incorrectly calls it a 0.1 percent drop, when it should have been a 0.1 point drop, or a 0.09 percent drop), which has now been revised to show no change in April?
"Key US indicators point to economic recovery losing steam"
"Leading indicators drop, experts still expect “sluggish” economic growth"
"US Economy: Leading Index Signals Recovery to Cool"
"Uh oh: Leading economic indicators slip in April"
"US: Leading Index Dips; Slower Growth Ahead"
MP: Given today's revisions, the leading index has increased or stayed the same for the last 14 months, which is only the third time that has happened since 1998. The 12-point increase in the leading index from the most recent March 2009 low of 97.9 to the all-time May high of 109.9 is the largest 14-month point gain in the history of the Conference Board's leading index going back to 1959 (see chart above). In percentage terms, the 12.26% increase over the last 14 months is the highest since 1984.
Also, market maven Dennis Gartman strongly emphasizes the "Ratio of Coincident to Lagging Indicators" as an accurate metric to assess turning points in the business cycle, and featured a graph of this ratio back to 1958 in today's "The Gartman Letter"turned higher in early 2009 and it has been trending higher ever since." Today's Conference Board report shows that the "Ratio of Coincident to Lagging Indicators" increased from .9314 in March to .9351 in April to .9397 in May.