Leading indicators up 0.6% in April, vs. expectations for 0.4% gain

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Lucas Jackson | Reuters

A key economic measure increased in April, reflecting strength in housing and manufacturing, according to new data released by The Conference Board Thursday.

The Leading Economic Index rose to 0.6 percent in April, following no change in March, and a 0.1 percent increase in February.

The most recent LEI, a closely followed barometer of economic health, beat consensus estimates. Economists expected the Index to hit 0.4 percent in April, according to Thomson Reuters.

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"The U.S. LEI picked up sharply in April, with all components except consumer expectations contributing to the rebound from an essentially flat first quarter," Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board, said in a statement. "Despite a slow start in 2016, labor market and financial indicators, and housing permits all point to a moderate growth trend continuing in 2016."

The LEI has 10 components including manufacturer' new orders, stock prices, and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance.

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