ECRI: U.S. economic growth to ease by mid-year

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A forward-looking measure of U.S. economic growth was unchanged in the latest week, while its yearly growth gauge continued to slide, bolstering expectations that economic growth will ease by mid-year, a research group said on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index stood at 128.4 for the week ended Feb. 19, unchanged from the previous week.

It was the lowest reading since November 13, 2009, when it stood at 127.5.

The index’s annualized growth rate declined for the 11th straight week to 14.9 percent from 17.0 percent the previous week, revised from an original 17.1 percent. It was the yearly growth gauge’s lowest level since Aug. 7, 2009 when it read 14.6 percent.

“The decline in WLI growth to a 28-week low reinforces our earlier expectation that economic growth would begin to ease by mid-year,” said ECRI Managing Director Lakshman Achuthan.

Reporting by Ciara Linnane, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama