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US leading economic index rises at steady pace in April

The U.S. leading economic index rose at a steady pace in April, suggesting solid growth for the second half of the year, the Conference Board said.

The leading economic index, or LEI, ticked 0.4% higher to 109.4 in April following an upwardly revised 0.4% increase in the previous month. The index rose 0.7% in February.

The six-month growth rate through April rose 3.3%, compared to 4.3% in the six months through March.

"[T]he LEI's six-month growth rate has recently moderated somewhat, suggesting growth is unlikely to strongly accelerate," said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board.

"In April, stock prices and housing permits were the only negative contributors, whereas the labor market components, which made negative contributions in March, improved," Ozyildirim added.

The coincident economic index, which measures current economic activity, increased 0.3% to 103.5 in April after a 0.2% gain last month, while the lagging economic index edged up 0.3% to 104.7 from a 0.1% decrease the previous month.