NEW YORK -- The Index of Leading Economic indicators fell 0.4 percent in April -- the first decline since a 0.6 percent drop in September 2001 -- after rising 0.1 percent in March. Some analysts believe the decline may be signaling a slow economic recovery.

April's decrease exceeded the expectations of Wall Street economists, who had forecast a more modest 0.2 percent drop.

Five of the 10 components that make up the Conference Board's leading indicators index fell in April, led by money supply and stock prices. Three components -- vendor performance, building permits and non-defense capital goods orders -- rose in April while consumer goods orders and the average workweek were flat.