Leading indicators dip in December

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A key economic measure declined in December, reflecting weakness in housing and manufacturing, according to The Conference Board Friday.

The Leading Economic Index fell 0.2 percent in December to 123.7, following a 0.5 percent increase in both November and October, the business trade association said.

"The U.S. LEI fell slightly in December, led by a drop in housing permits and weak new orders in manufacturing," said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. "However, the index continues to suggest moderate growth in the near-term despite the economy losing some momentum at the end of 2015."

The LEI, a closely followed barometer of economic health, has 10 components including manufacturer' new orders, stock prices, and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance. Despite December's decline, Ozyildirim said in a statement it is still too early to interpret the results as a risk of recession.

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