Leading indicators rise 0.4 pct in July, vs. 0.3 pct rise expected

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A key economic measure climbed in July, according to new data released by The Conference Board Thursday.

The Leading Economic Index (LEI) rose 0.4 percent in July, amid recent improvements in manufacturing and construction, the trade group said.

Economists expected the leading indicators index to rise 0.3 percent in July, after rising 0.3 percent in June, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

"The U.S.LEI picked up again in July, suggesting moderate economic growth should continue through the end of 2016," Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board, said in a statement. "There may even be some moderate upside growth potential."

A closely followed barometer of economic health, the LEI has 10 components including manufacturer' new orders, stock prices, and average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance.