A key gauge of US economic performance
dropped 0.5 per cent in August, a larger fall than forecast, in another sign of
a slowing US economy just weeks before the financial crisis that has struck Wall
The New York-based Conference Board's index fell for the third time in the last four months amid an economic downturn in the world's largest economy. The index, which examines economic performance over the coming three to six months, fell 0.7 per cent in July, its sharpest drop in nearly a year.
Six of the 10 economic indicators that make up the index fell in August, led by unemployment claims, building permits and supplier deliveries. Consumer expectations, manufacturing orders and stock prices were up on the month.
The private research group's indicator is likely to fall further in September after a series of bank failures, takeovers and government bailouts have wreaked havoc with investor confidence on Wall Street.
Economists had forecast a 0.2-per-cent drop in August, according to Bloomberg financial news.