Gauge of US economy up, recession still looms-ECRI

NEW YORK, July 11 Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:30am EDT

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NEW YORK, July 11 (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic growth and its annualized growth rate rose in the latest week, but the latter is still deep into negative territory indicating a recession is at hand, a research group said on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index rose to 132.5 in the week to July 4 from 131.2 in the previous period.

The rise in the index was due to higher commodity prices and stronger housing, and was partly offset by lower stock prices, said Melinda Hubman, research associate at ECRI.

The index's annualized growth rate edged up to negative 6.1 percent from minus 6.3 percent.

"Despite the latest uptick, WLI growth remains deep in negative territory and the economic outlook continues to be recessionary," Hubman said. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

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