Leading economic indicators are signaling that the pace of economic deterioration may be slowing. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI), a composite of leading data series, fell 4.4% month over month in April. While this is an undeniably abysmal reading, it is an improvement from the -7.4% in March.
”The monthly LEI change tends to bottom early in a recession, and sometimes even before a recession’s official start,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Stocks are forward looking, so if investors feel confident that the economic damage will not accelerate from here, they may be more willing to put capital to work. We think today’s LEI number largely confirms April’s strong moves in the equity markets.”
The performance of the 10 underlying components in the LEI does indicate some disconnect between financial markets and the real economy. The two largest positive contributors to the headline LEI number this month were stock prices and the interest rate spread, which were buoyed by a swift and robust monetary and fiscal stimulus. Meanwhile, data series related to manufacturing, unemployment, and construction hurt the index, a reflection of the damage done to the parts of the economy in which workers are unable to perform their jobs remotely.
As local economies begin to reopen, we look for the industries disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus to begin to rebound. While this will likely be a bumpy process, progress will likely become evident in future LEI releases and confirm that the worst of the economic declines are behind us. We think this should pave the way for further equity gains over a long-term horizon.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The Leading Economic Index is a monthly publication from the Conference Board that attempts to predict future movements in the economy based on a composite of 10 economic indicators whose changes tend to precede changes in the overall economy. This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor that is not an LPL affiliate, please note LPL makes no representation with respect to such entity. Not Insured by FDIC/NCUA or Any Other Government Agency | Not Bank/Credit Union Guaranteed Not Bank/Credit Union Deposits or Obligations | May Lose Value Member FINRA /SIPC For Public Use | Tracking # 1-05014083