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Conference Board says recession is ‘losing steam’

Stocks surged late last week after the Conference Board proclaimed that the U.S. recession is "losing steam" and a slow recovery should begin by the end of the year.

The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose 1.2 percent in May, the second consecutive monthly increase.

"The strengths among its components continued to exceed the weaknesses this month. Vendor performance, the interest rate spread, real money supply, stock prices, consumer expectations, and building permits contributed positively to the index, more than offsetting the negative contributions from weekly hours and initial unemployment claims," the Conference Board reported.

Meanwhile, manufacturing firms in the Philadelphia region reported their best business conditions since September, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said today. The Philly Fed index improved to negative 2.2 in June from negative 22.6 in May.

In related data, the number of Americans on unemployment insurance rolls dropped in the latest week for the first time since early January.

The U.S. Labor Department said the number of people on unemployment insurance rolls fell 148,000 to 6.69 million in the week ended June 6, the largest such drop in more than seven years. The drop also breaks a string of 21 consecutive weekly increases, the last 19 of which were record highs.


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