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Measure Of U.S. Economy's Health Declines In March

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 10:56am
Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A measure of the U.S. economy's health over the next six months declined slightly in March from February, a sign that growth may slow this spring.

The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators dipped 0.1 percent in March to 94.7. That's the first decline after three months of gains. The gauge is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

Declines in consumer confidence, housing permits and new orders for manufactured goods pushed down the index.

Higher stock prices and lower interest rates offset the decline.

The index is derived from data that for the most part have already been reported individually.

"Data for March reflect an economy that has lost some steam," says Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board.

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