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US leading economic index rises 1.0% in January

The U.S. leading economic index accelerated further in January compared to previous months, and continued to point to strong economic growth in the first half of 2018, the Conference Board reported.

The leading economic index, or LEI, which is composed of several key macroeconomic indicators, rose 1.0% to a reading of 108.1 in January, following increases of 0.4% and 0.6% in November and December 2017.

"The leading indicators reflect an economy with widespread strengths coming from financial conditions, manufacturing, residential construction, and labor markets," said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at the Conference Board.

Ozyildirim also said that the economic confidence of consumers and businesses were not expected to be significantly affected by the turmoil in equities markets early in the year.

"While the recent stock market volatility will not be reflected in the U.S. LEI until next month, consumers' and business' outlook on the economy had been improving for several months and should not be greatly impacted," Ozyildirim said.

The coincident economic index, which measures current economic activity, inched up 0.1% to 103.0 last month, while the lagging economic index also increased 0.1% to 104.0.