In the past few months, the market has looked much like it did in the first three months of the year, when the largest stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes
soared while many other stocks lagged.
Both the auto and non-auto composite indexes
are above 55.
At the forefront of BEA's cyclical indicators system are the composite indexes of leading, coincident, and lagging indicators.
Because the combination of prompt availability and reasonable accuracy is an especially important requirement of composite indexes, only monthly series that are available on a timely basis and are not subject to large revisions are considered when selecting components of the three composites.
Because they are based on series of historically tested usefulness and given timing characteristics, with diversified economic coverage and a minimum of duplication, composite indexes give more reliable signals over time than do any of the individual indicators.
For example, a quick look at most REIT composite indexes
shows that they lump the year-to-date performance of the mortgage sector in with the lower performance of the retail or factory-outlet sector.
The composite indexes
are the key elements in an analytic system designed to signal peaks and troughs in the business cycle.
The composite indexes and related series will also be available from The Conference Board on diskette and from the Commerce Department on STAT-USA's Economic Bulletin Board.
NOTICE: Conference Board Now Publishing Composite Indexes In the past, these indexes were compiled and released by the Department of Commerce.
Summary estimates of the composite indexes will be available from The Conference Board on a recorded message at the time of public release by calling (212) 339-0330.
The Department of Commerce has selected The Conference Board to take over the preparation and dissemination of the composite indexes of leading, coincident, and lagging indicators.
Data on the composite indexes, their components, and related series appear each month in the "Business Cycle Indicators" section of the Survey of Current Business.