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Leading indicators up 0.5% in December, vs. expectations for 0.4% gain

Employee organizes treated lumber at Maze Lumber in Peru, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Employee organizes treated lumber at Maze Lumber in Peru, Illinois.

An indicator of future U.S. economic activity rose in December, beating expectations and suggesting that the recovery is still on the right track.

The Conference Board said Friday its Leading Economic Index rose 0.5 percent to 121.1 in December after a downwardly revised gain of 0.4 percent in November. Economists polled by Reuters had expected leading indicators in December to be up 0.4 percent.

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"December's gain in the LEI was driven by a majority of its components, suggesting the short-term outlook is getting brighter and the economy continues to build momentum," said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board.

"Still, a lack of growth in residential construction and average weekly hours in manufacturing remains a concern. Current economic conditions measured by the coincident indicators show employment and income gains are helping to keep the U.S. economy on a solid expansionary path despite some weakness in industrial production."

Reuters contributed to this report.