Leading economic indicators up for six months

April 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

NEW YORK, April 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. index of leading economic indicators rose for the sixth consecutive month in March, the Conference Board said Thursday.

The Leading Economic Index was up 0.3 percent to 95.7, following an increase of 0.7 percent in February and a 0.2 percent increase in January.

Economists had predicted a 0.2 gain, expecting economic growth may have slowed given the drop off in job gains in March.

The Leading Economic Index, which takes into account 10 economic components, is essentially a comparison with 2004, the year the Conference Board assigned a level of 100.

The March index rose, "despite relatively weak data on jobs, home building and output in the past month or two, the indicators signal continued economic momentum," said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein.

"We expect a gradual improvement in growth past the summer months," he said.

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