Leading Economic Indicators Index Fall Again

For the third time in four months, and 4th time in 6 months, the  leading economic indicators fell signaling a slow down in the economy, if not an outright recession.

In each of the past two months, the LEI  fell sharply. The greater than forecast
0.4% decline comes on top of a 0.5% drop in October.

At the same time, the
Commerce Department reported a GDP of 4.9% for Q3. We have argued that the GDP is dramatically overstated, due to under-reported inflation.


"After having been essentially flat since early 2006, the leading index has weakened sharply in recent months, and it has declined to its lowest level since the middle of 2005.

Meanwhile, the coincident index has continued to increase throughout most of this period, but its growth has moderated recently. In addition, real GDP has continued to expand, growing at an average annual rate of 3.1 percent through the third quarter of the year (including a 4.9 percent annual rate growth in the third quarter). The recent behavior of the composite indexes suggest that while slow economic growth is likely in the near term, risks for further economic weakness have increased."

Look for more spin on this data from the usual suspects . . .



Global Business Cycle Indicators  (PDF)
December 20, 2007      http://www.conference-board.org/economics/bci/pressRelease_output.cfm?cid=1

U.S. Leading Economic Indicator Index Fell 0.4%
Bob Willis

Dec. 20  2007

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. michael schumacher commented on Dec 20

    “”After having been essentially flat since early 2006, the leading index has weakened sharply in recent months, and it has declined to its lowest level since the middle of 2005.”

    But it made no difference to the market as it got bullied up to record levels despite these and many other indicators that were essentially signaling what we already knew.

    I want to see the mark-ups at each month end , qtr end, year end or whatever the excuse is to mark up stocks just because. We’ve become accustomed to just accepting these incidents as customary practice by the system but have we ever really examined why it’s ok to inflate equities just because some mutual fund manager needs to “make” his /her qtr? We allow this (along with many other things) to just occur with no pushback at all.

    This probably belongs in the previous thread but….


  2. Paul Jones commented on Dec 20

    With central banks injecting trillions into the economy, the economy will continue to grow.

    John Maynard Keynes was no fool.

  3. D H commented on Dec 20

    Let’s see how Kudlow the hypocrite spins this one …

  4. Ross commented on Dec 20

    John Maynard Keynes was no fool. An amiable dunce perhaps but no fool. I’ll see your trillions and raise you two more. “Hun, run down to Starbucks and get me a $25 latte”

  5. Eric Sebille commented on Dec 20

    Can someone please explain to me why Dennis Kneale continues to give investment/economic advice on TV?

  6. Peter Davis commented on Dec 20

    It looks as though the chickens may be finally coming home to roost. At least Doug Kass may finally be able to put away the tequila as he pulls himself off his cold, linoleum floor.

  7. CaptiousNut commented on Dec 20

    Can someone explain to me why anyone watches CNBC?

    I am a professional trader who manages to keep abreast of all the BS news without the aid(?) of CNBC.

  8. D H commented on Dec 20

    Dennis is being mentored by Ben Stein. It is a nation of game show hosts turned investment adviser. Sign of the times.

  9. Steve commented on Dec 20


    I guess it becomes useful again when it supports your viewpoint.


    BR: You missed the main point of that post. That comment references the absurdity of “ruining an otherwise adequate indicator” by changing it so it almost always never registers a negative.

    Alternatively, we could just completely ignore all of the LEIs. Is that your suggestion as to how to proceed?

    Paul Kasriel, whom I have referenced here too many times to count, has made a compelling argument that the LEIs can be used in conjunction with other factors to forecast recessions. He makes a convincing case.

  10. Stuart commented on Dec 20

    Can someone please explain to me why Dennis Kneale continues to give investment/economic advice to anyone, anywhere, anytime, including his pets. He’s in the same category as Lawrence Yun.

  11. michael schumacher commented on Dec 20


    BBI raises prices for it’s online “service”

    NFLX just lost it’s only competitor (on a scaled basis of course)

    Food for thought.


  12. Eric Davis commented on Dec 20

    McBuisness TV(cnbc), I always like to see what wallstreet is trying to lie to me about. It’s obviously propaganda, with only hints of truth said under some of the seasoned peoples Breath.

    But as the market tries to trade up with some amazing headwinds… It occurs to me, maybe wall-street is this stupid.

    It Blows my mind that the infotainment doesn’t comb through the minutia of the emerging market data.

    Bloomberg is prattling on about how I should buy Airlines….

    I’ll buy an airline right after I buy a newspaper, which I’ll buy after a great company that just developed the covered wagon, which I purchased just after I buy the company that developed the Wheel… GE purchased them didn’t they?

  13. michael schumacher commented on Dec 20

    B’Berg sure lowered it’s standards as soon as FBN showed up. Money quote from yesterday was some doofus prattling on about home values increased (hello they effectively doubled in a short period of time) while wages remained stagnant(i agreed with it up to this point). His slant (i forgot who it was…not that it matters) was that as home prices are “correcting” we will see wages rise to offset the lowered home values. (he sort of forgot the little issue of inflation’s impact on the dollar but hey who’s checking facts)

    So don’t worry as all of us are due a huge wage increase to off-set that mean old “correction” in the housing market. And the best part of it was that he said “while home prices will not drop 40% I expect wages to rise to meet it in the middle” I’m paraphrasing that but that is, in essence, what was broadcast.

    And that passes for content on B’Berg now.

    Bring back Suzy Assad!!!!


  14. v commented on Dec 20


    BBI is going to go bankrupt, lol. Their only asset is (commercial) real estate. Before this recent price increase, BBI was operating its mail service at a loss. Not sure how much the recent price increase was for, but I’m guessing they are still operating at a loss.

    Early this year they signed an “exclusive” deal with the Weinstein Company (another bastion of savvy investing). BBI had adverts claiming WC DVDs were “exclusive” to BBI. Only problem is that it wasn’t true. Legally, BBI can use “exclusive” terminology in their advertisements, but any company can buy and rent WC DVDs. Not sure if BBI has continued this false advertising, but if one sees an advert like this, simply visit Netflix’s website and look up the DVD title. It will be there.

  15. v commented on Dec 20


    Does anyone watch CNBC Europe? I must say I was surprised to find it a good deal more sober than the Money Honeys and the Fast/Crazy/Mad/etc of CNBC USA.

    Though I am a novice, so perhaps I have low (or less nuanced) expectations.

    Once again, just curious if anyone else finds CNBC Europe to be decent?

  16. Eric Davis commented on Dec 20

    I’m always sad I can’t wake up at 1am to watch CNBC Europe. I find it worth watching, when stricken with insomnia

  17. wunsacon commented on Dec 20

    As CaptiousNut asked, why watch CNBC?

    Although I often enjoy reading people rant about CNBC, Fox, Cramer, etc., if it’s that bad then why watch?

    I think the video medium naturally lends itself to BS. In the video medium, “news” providers compete on steak plus a lot of sizzle. In the print medium, they compete with a little less sizzle. If we want to spend the bulk of our time thinking about ideas that matter most, we veer away from the sizzle.

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