The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased sharply in October, by 0.9%, to 117.4 (2004 = 100). This follows a 0.1% increase in September and a 0.3% increase in August.

“The October rebound of the SEI, largely due to the sharp pick-up in housing permits, suggests that the risk of an economic downturn has receded,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist at The Conference Board. “Improving consumer expectations, stock markets and labor market indicators also contributed to this month’s gain in the LEI, as did the continuing positive contributions from the interest rate spread. The Coincident Economic Index also rose somewhat, led by higher industrial production and employment.”

The CEI increased 0.6% in October to 110.9 (2004 = 100), following a 0.1% increase in September and a 0.2% increase in August.

Ken Goldstein, another Conference Board economist, added: “The LEI is pointing to continued growth this winter—possibly even gaining a little momentum by spring. The lack of confidence has been the biggest obstacle in generating forward momentum, domestically or globally. As long as it lasts, there is a glimmer of hope.”

-- This article first appeared on Money Management Executive.