UPDATE: US Conference Board: January Leading Index Rose 0.4%

UPDATE: US Conference Board: January Leading Index Rose 0.4%
   (Updates to add coincident index, Conference Board details)  

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- The composite index of leading indicators rose 0.4% in January, to 99.5, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday by The Conference Board.

The January figure follows a revised 0.2% rise in December, after a 0.7% decline in November. Over the six months ended January, the index has fallen 1.9%.

Half of the 10 indicators rose in January. The positive contributors, beginning with the largest contributor, were real money supply, the interest rate spread, index of consumer expectations, manufacturers new orders for nondefense capital goods, and manufacturers new orders for consumer goods and materials.

The negative contributors were average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, average weekly manufacturing hours, stock prices and the index of supplier deliveries.

The index was equal to 100 in 2004.

"The economy has been in recession for over a year, but the level of intensity may begin to ease over the next few months," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. "The second half of 2009 may see a period of anemic growth."

The Board reported that the coincident index fell 0.5% in January to 103.3. It was driven down by industrial production and employees on nonagricultural payrolls. Over the six months ended in December, the index decreased 2.7%.

The lagging index fell 0.1% in January to 113.9.

The Conference Board is a non-profit research and business membership group that computes the composite indexes from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

-By Dan Molinski, Dow Jones Newswires; 201 938-2245; dan.molinski@dowjones.com

(Matthew Cowley in New York contributed to this report.)

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 19, 2009 10:20 ET (15:20 GMT)

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