The U.S. leading index, a key barometer of economic conditions, gained 0.9 percent in June, the Conference Board reported. The leading index now stands at 137.7. Based on revised data, this index remained unchanged in May and increased 0.2 percent in April. During the six-month span through June, the leading index increased 0.6 percent, with five out of 10 components advancing. The sharp pick up in June keeps the leading index on a slightly rising trend, and this behavior is consistent with the economy continuing to expand moderately in the near term, but at a slower pace than in recent quarters. The revised leading index has increased at a 1.2 percent annual rate over the last six months, but this is down from a peak of about 10 percent at the end of 2003. The strengths and weakness...
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