WAshington — The government's index of leading economic indicators rose 0.4 percent in April, reflecting an ncease in the money supplyu and promising more economic growth, The Commerce Department reported.
April's rise came on top of a big March increase in the composite index -- originally reported at 1.4 percent but revised upward Thursday to 1.8 percent. The March increase was the highest since September of 1979. The index had falled from December through February.
Money supply, a stimulant to demand, contributed the greatest increase after adjustment for inflation. Also up were average workweek, new orders, the pace of deliveries, building permits, stock prices, and crude materials prices.
The index of leading indicators is designed to forecast what the economy will do over the next several weeks t months. The April index has special significance, since many economic forecasters months ago had predicted that a sag in activity should already be under way.