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Gauge of US economy rose 0.7 percent in February
Gauge of US economy rose for fifth straight month in February as economy gains momentum
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' A measure of future U.S. economic activity rose in February for the fifth straight month, fresh evidence that the economy is gaining momentum.

The Conference Board says its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.7 percent in February, after a 0.2 percent increase in January. The increase pushed the index to its highest point since June 2008.

The measure of leading indicators is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out. Its steady rise has coincided with other positive data that suggest the recovery is picking up ' including the best job growth in two years.

The data "suggests that progress on jobs output, and incomes may continue through the summer months, if not beyond," said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board, a business research group.

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