The US economy grinding to a halt

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. leading economic indicators fell 0.7% in July, pointing to "slow growth the rest of the year, and possibly an economy grinding to a halt," the Conference Board reported Thursday. "If there's a second-half recovery, it'll be the second half of 2009," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at the private research organization. Five of the 10 indicators declined in July, led by building permits and stock prices. In the past six months, the leading index has fallen at a 1.8% annual rate, with seven of the 10 indicators falling over that period. The index was flat in June.

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