US Economy

Leading indicators up 0.6% in February, vs. 0.4% estimate

Shoppers at a Target store in Brooklyn, New York.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Leading indicators gained in February, beating estimates and pointing to an improving economic outlook for the rest of the year.

Leading indicators increased by 0.6 percent, according to the Conference Board. Economists were expecting a gain of 0.4 percent in February, according to estimates by Reuters, versus an increase of 0.6 percent in the month prior.

"After six consecutive monthly gains, the U.S. LEI [Leading Economic Index] is at its highest level in over a decade. Widespread gains across a majority of the leading indicators points to an improving economic outlook for 2017, although GDP growth is likely to remain moderate," said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at the Conference Board. "Only housing permits contributed negatively to the LEI in February, reversing gains over the previous two months."

The index, a closely followed indicator of the economy, has 10 components including manufacturers' new orders, stock prices, and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance.