US: Good outlook offsets job data and output worry

JOBLESS claims rose unexpectedly last week to 482,000 as a backlog of applications from the holidays were processed.

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said that business activity had fallen sharply in January to 15.2 from 22.5.

But any concerns were eased by the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicator, which rose 1.1 per cent to an all-time high of 106.4 last month.

Analysts had only forecast a 0.7 per cent rise and said this indicated that the recovery momentum was still there.