The Conference Board reported Thursday that its Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in February to 123.2 (2010 = 100), following a 0.2 percent decline in January, and a 0.3 percent decline in December.

"The U.S. LEI increased slightly in February, after back-to-back monthly declines, but housing permits, stock prices, consumer expectations, and new orders remain sources of weakness," said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. "Although the LEI's six-month growth rate has moderated considerably in recent months, the outlook remains positive with little chance of a downturn in the near-term."

The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI) for the U.S. increased 0.1 percent in February to 113.3 (2010 = 100), following a 0.3 percent increase in January, and a 0.2 percent increase in December.

The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index® (LAG) for the U.S. increased 0.4 percent in February to 120.4 (2010 = 100), following a 0.1 percent increase in October, and no change in December.

The composite economic indexes are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle. The leading, coincident, and lagging economic indexes are essentially composite averages of several individual leading, coincident, or lagging indicators. They are constructed to summarize and reveal common turning point patterns in economic data in a clearer and more convincing manner than any individual component – primarily because they smooth out some of the volatility of individual components.