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Indicators inch up in December

POSTED: February 8, 2007 5:05 a.m.
NEW YORK — An indicator of future economic activity rose slightly in December, suggesting the economy may grow at a modest clip in the next several months, an industry-backed research group said Tuesday.
The New York-based Conference Board said its Index of Leading Economic Indicators edged up 0.3 percent last month, following a revised flat reading in November and a drop in October.
Analysts expected the index to rise 0.4 percent in December.
The index, which stood at 138 versus a revised 137.6 in November, is closely watched because it is designed to forecast economic activity over the next three to six months.
Ken Goldstein, economist with the Conference Board said two soft spots in the economy, the housing and job markets, both showed signs of leveling last month.
“When you start to put all the ducks in a row, it certainly doesn’t add up to an economy that is going to come roaring right back,” he said. “But it’s clearly not an economy that is continuing to slow.”
Six of the 10 indicators that make up the index rose in December, led by robust numbers of building permits and an improving job market.
Abnormally warm weather last month in the Midwest and Northeast resulted in a jump in construction activity in those regions, where building activity usually slows in December.
 

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