WASHINGTON — The index of leading indicators, battered by the stock market crash, fell 0.2% in October, the Commerce Department said today. It was the first decline in nine months for the government's chief economic forecasting tool.
Still, the decrease was a smaller setback than economists had been expecting given the record 508-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average Oct. 19.
In addition, the September figure, which originally had been reported as a 0.1% decline, was revised upward to show no change at all.
Fears of Recession
The index, composed of 11 forward-pointing business barometers, has taken on new importance since the collapse of the stock market as analysts search for signs of whether a new recession is on the way.