A key gauge of leading economic indicators rose
in January for the fourth straight month, indicating strengthening in
the economy as 2012 begins.
The New York-based Conference Board said Friday its leading economic index rose 0.4 percent in January to 94.9, after increasing 0.5 percent in December.
"This fourth consecutive gain in the LEI reflected fairly widespread strength among its components, pointing to somewhat more positive economic conditions in early 2012," said economist Ataman Ozyildirim.
The improvement indicated advances in manufacturing along with improving financial and credit conditions, even as consumer outlook remained pessimistic.
The Conference Board said economic strengthening looked set to continue and could pick up in the spring and summer.
The index reflects the board's outlook for the next three to six months.
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