News Summary: Index of future economic activity up

IMPROVEMENT AHEAD?: A measure of U.S. economic activity designed to give signals about the future rose 0.6 percent in September, rebounding after a revised 0.4 percent dip in August.

THE DRIVERS: The strength in September came from a big jump in applications for building permits, low interest rates and rising stock prices. Six of the 10 indicators that make up Conference Board's index of leading indicators showed strength.

WEAK LINKS: The major areas of weakness came from a decline in the Institute for Supply Management's new orders index and in consumer confidence.