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Economic Indicators Up 0.2 Percent

December 2, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ In a sign the economy hasn’t slackened its pace, a private report today said a key gauge of future growth rose 0.2 percent in October, its sixth straight monthly increase.

The stock market had little initial reaction to the news. The Dow Jones industrial average was down slightly this morning after shooting 190 points higher Monday to break back through the 8,000 mark.

The Conference Board report of the rise in the Index of Leading Economic Indicators to 104.6 matched analysts’ expectations and followed a 0.2 percent rise in September and a revised 0.1 percent increase in August.

The leading index is designed to forecast economic activity six to nine months in advance.

The index has increased for six straight months, a sign that economic growth in the United States faces no imminent halt, despite currency-related economic turmoil in southeast Asia that has led to volatility on Wall Street.

Over the six months through October, the index increased 1.1 percent. During the same period, eight of the 10 leading economic indicators advanced.

The Conference Board, a private research group, said seven of the 10 leading indicators rose in October, with the most significant coming in the lengthening factory work week and money supply. The most significant decline in September was in the difference between short- and medium-term interest rates.

While the leading index was first calculated in the late 1960s, it is periodically fine-tuned and figures from past years are revised. The most recent major change came last year, when the Conference Board eliminated two components and added one for a new total of 10.

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