NEW YORK, July 24 (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic growth edged higher in the latest week, while its measure of annual growth continued to stride at five-year highs, feeding hopes that a smooth recovery is due this year, 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 118.4 in the week to July 17 from 118.1 the previous week.
The index's annualized growth rate jumped to a fresh five-year high of 7.7 percent from 7.0 percent one week ago.
It was the index's highest yearly growth rate reading since the week ended May 7, 2004, when it stood at 7.8 percent.
"With WLI growth climbing to a new five-year high, it is reaffirming that the end of recession is at hand and that the U.S. economy is poised for recovery in short order," said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at ECRI.
The weekly index rose due to higher stock and commodity prices, said Achuthan. (Reporting by Camille Drummond, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)