Leading economic index up for fifth month

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:14am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gauge of future economic activity compiled by the Conference Board posted a fifth straight monthly increase in February, climbing a healthy 0.7 percent in a sign of gaining economic momentum.

The group's Leading Economic Index was up to 95.5 in February on gains that were described as broad-based and potentially signaling more progress on jobs, output and incomes in coming months.

"We haven't seen this kind of a run since we were coming out of recession in 2009," Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said.

(Reporting By Glenn Somerville; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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