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US leading economic index picks up in September

The U.S. leading economic index rebounded in September after a slowdown in the previous month, The Conference Board reported.

The leading economic index, or LEI, rose 0.5% to 111.8 in September, in line with market expectations and following increases of 0.4% and 0.7% in August and July, respectively.

Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board, said the improvement in the index suggests that the U.S. economy remains on a strong growth trajectory heading into 2019.

"However, the LEI's growth has slowed somewhat in recent months, suggesting the economy may be facing capacity constraints and increasingly tight labor markets," Ozyildirim said.

Ozyildirim also said economic expansion in the second half of 2018 could hit more than 3.5%, but warned that the pace of growth may not be sustained next year if the momentum in housing, orders and stock prices does not quicken.

The leading economic index has 10 components, including measures for manufacturing and housing activity.

The coincident economic index went up 0.1% to 104.4 in September after a 0.3% gain in the previous month, while the lagging economic index fell 0.1% to 105.3 following a 0.2% increase in August.