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U.S. econ growth gauge rises in latest week-ECRI

NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - A weekly index of future U.S. economic growth ticked up to levels reached early last year in the latest week, and a rebound in its yearly growth rate reaffirms forecasts of a smooth recovery, 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 130.1 in the week ended Dec. 4, from 129.5 the previous week.

The index’s yearly growth rate rose to 23.8 percent from 23.4 percent the previous week, after spending seven straight weeks falling from record highs it hit in early October.

“The economic outlook remains positive” despite the recent contraction in the group’s measure of annualized economic growth, said Lakshman Achuthan, Managing Director at ECRI.

“We really need to see a pronounced, pervasive and persistent move in the opposite direction to say things are changing direction from our earlier outlook.”

This week’s index rose largely due to stronger housing activity, Achuthan said.

The growth rate is derived from a four-week moving average, and occasionally moves inversely to the weekly index level. (Reporting by Camille Drummond, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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