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Leading economic index rises 0.2% in October

Leading economic index rises 0.2% in October (by Ruth Mantell)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - It's likely that the U.S. economy will continue to "modestly" expand through early 2013, the Conference Board said Wednesday as it reported that its leading economic index rose 0.2% in October after increasing a downwardly revised 0.5% in September. A prior estimate for September pegged the increase at 0.6%. However, Hurricane Sandy and the outcome from fiscal cliff negotiations could impact growth, the Conference Board noted. October's result beat analysts' expectations of a 0.1% gain. The LEI is a weighted gauge of 10 indicators that are designed to signal business cycle peaks and troughs. Four of the 10 indicators made positive contributions in October, led by the interest-rate spread. Meanwhile, four indicators made negative contributions, led by building permits. There were neutral readings on two manufacturing-related indicators.