The Conference Board late last week reported that is Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators increased 0.1% in May, following a 0.1 percent increase in April, and no change in March.

Taken together, the monthly readings indicate that "the economy is very weak heading into the summer, with gas and utility bills possibly heading even higher," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at the Conference Board> "But latest data suggest the economy has not fallen into a contraction and may not undergo one in the second half of the year. In fact, the economy might even begin to turn a corner early next year."

Among the component indices, the leading index now stands at 102.1 (2004=100). During the six-month span through May, the leading index decreased 0.7%. The coincident Index increased 0.1% in May, following a 0.1% decline in both April and March. The lagging Index increased 0.2% in May, following no change in April and a 0.4% increase in March.