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Leading indicators in March inch up

A worker walks on scaffolding at the construction site of a new home in Carlsbad, California.
Mike Blake | Reuters
A worker walks on scaffolding at the construction site of a new home in Carlsbad, California.

An indicator of U.S. economic activity increased moderately in March, just missing analyst expectations and suggesting weaker growth to come.

The Conference Board said Friday its Leading Economic Index rose 0.2 percent to 121.4 in March following a 0.1 percent increase in February, and a 0.2 percent increase in January. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast the leading economic index to increase by 0.3 percent in March.

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"Although the leading economic index still points to a moderate expansion in economic activity, its slowing growth rate over recent months suggests weaker growth may be ahead," said Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board, in the press release.

"Building permits was the weakest component this month, but average working hours and manufacturing new orders have also slowed the LEI's growth over the last six months."

The LEI is comprised of 10 components including manufacturer' new orders, stock prices, and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance. The full report is available at The Conference Board.