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by CareyBot

After five straight months of declines, The Conference Board's U.S. leading index for March showed a slight uptick in the outlook for the economy. According to a report released today by the group, money supply, vendor performance and interest-rate spread pushed the index up 0.1 percent last month to a reading of 102 despite large negative impacts from rising jobless claims and lower building permit numbers and stock prices. During the six-month period ending in March, the leading index, considered a gauge of economic activity over the next three to six months, declined 1.6 percent (a -3.3 percent annual rate), and the weaknesses among its components have been very widespread, The Conference Board reported. Since the middle of 2007, the leading index has been declining while t...