WASHINGTON A gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose modestly in December, suggesting a gradual strengthening in growth.
The Conference Board said on Thursday that its Leading Economic Index edged up 0.1 percent to 99.4 last month. That followed a revised 1.0 percent increase in November.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to gain 0.2 percent last month after November's previously reported 0.8 percent advance.
"This latest report suggests steady growth this spring, but some uncertainties remain," said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board. "Business caution and concern about unresolved federal budget battles persist, but the better-than-expected holiday season might point to sustained stronger demand and could put the U.S. on a faster growth track for 2014."
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)