UPDATE 1-US leading economic index at record high in March

(Adds details, market reaction)

WASHINGTON, April 19 (BestGrowthStock) – A gauge of the U.S.
economy’s prospects rose more strongly than expected to a
record high in March, pointing to a steady economic recovery, a
private research group said on Monday.

The Conference Board said its index of leading economic
indicators increased 1.4 percent, rising for the 12th straight
month, after an upwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in February.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 1.0 percent rise
in March from a previously reported 0.1 percent gain.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) held slim gains after the report, while
Treasury debt prices and the U.S. dollar were little changed.

“The indicators point to a slow recovery that should
continue over the next few months. The leading, coincident and
lagging series are rising. Strength in demand remains the big
question going forward,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist at
the Conference Board.

Seven of the 10 indicators that make up the leading index
rose last month, with the interest rate spread, average weekly
manufacturing hours and stock market prices making the largest
contributions.

The drag on the index came from the real money supply,
manufacturers’ new orders for nondefense capital goods and
consumer expectations.

The coincident index, which measures current economic
conditions, edged up 0.1 percent in March after a 0.1 percent
gain the prior month. The lagging index rose 0.2 percent after
a 0.1 percent increase in February.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

UPDATE 1-US leading economic index at record high in March