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U.S. Growth Expected to Stay Steady

From Associated Press

The economy’s steady but cautious growth is set to continue beyond the holiday shopping season, according to a private report released Tuesday.

The index of leading economic indicators, a key gauge of future economic activity, rose 0.2% in October, the sixth straight monthly gain, according to the Conference Board, the private research group that monitors the economy.

“This modest increase . . . projects a pretty healthy economy going into the start of next year,” said Gary Thayer, senior economist at A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. “The majority of consumers are doing pretty well right now and confidence is pretty high.”

The Conference Board said its economic indicators report rose to 104.6 in October, matching analysts’ expectations, up 0.2% from September.

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The leading index is designed to forecast economic activity six to nine months in advance. The index has increased for six straight months, a sign economic growth faces no imminent halt, despite economic turmoil in Asia that has led to volatility on Wall Street.

Over the six months through October, the index increased 1.1%. During the same period, eight of the 10 leading economic indicators advanced.

The Conference Board said seven of the 10 leading indicators rose in October, with the most significant coming in the lengthening factory workweek and money supply. The most significant decline in September was in the difference between short- and medium-term interest rates.

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Index of Leading Economic Indicators

Seasonally adjusted index; 1987=100.

Oct. ’97: 104.6

Source: Conference Board

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