A private, economic research organization that produces the monthly index of leading economic indicators, which predicts the direction of the U.S. economy over the next six months. The Leading Economic Indicators are widely watched in the financial markets to glean clues about the direction of the economy. Also included in the data are the coincident indicators and lagging indicators. The Conference Board is a business membership and research network that was founded in 1916. Since 1919 it has measured cost of living data in the United States. In 1995, the U.S. Department of Commerce handed over to it responsibility for the composite indexes. It also produces business cycle indexes for Australia, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The Conference Board also produces the monthly consumer confidence index, a survey based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. Included with the consumer confidence index data are the expectations index and the present situation index.