Drop in key index indicates further economic cooling

Herald staff

NEW YORK — A key gauge of future economic activity fell 0.2 percent in October, suggesting further slowing for the U.S. economy in the new year.

The Conference Board said Monday that its Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators declined to 105.5 in October after registering no change in September and dropping 0.1 percent in August.

  • Times to cut staff: The Seattle Times is planning to cut an unspecified number of staff positions as a strike against the city’s two daily newspapers enters its third week. Times President H. Mason Sizemore said money set aside to invest in the company has been diverted to cope with the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild strike. The Guild is also striking the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which is a partner with The Times in a joint operating agreement.

  • T-bill rates fall: Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities fell in Monday’s auction. The Treasury Department sold three-month bills at a discount rate of 5.960 percent, down from 6.160 percent last week. Six-month bills sold at a rate of 5.840 percent, down from 6.045 percent. The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors: 6.137 percent for three-month bills with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,849.30, and 6.100 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,704.80. In a separate report, the government said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, the most popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 6 percent last week from 6.09 percent the previous week.

  • Monday prices: Gold sold for $270.70 a troy ounce, silver sold for $4.76 and platinum sold for $622.10.
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