Key Economic Measure Rises

WASHINGTON (March 21, 2013)—The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators, a measure of the U.S. economy's health over the next six months, increased in February from January, a sign that growth could be improving.

The Conference Board said the index rose 0.5 percent in February to 94.8 after an equal gain in January, which was revised higher.

The gauge is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

The increase was also more broad-based, with eight of its 10 components rising compared with only five in January and six in December.

A gain in housing permits, a longer manufacturing work week and rising stock prices were among the elements that drove the index higher.

Lower orders for large manufactured goods and lower consumer outlook for business conditions limited the gain.

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