August 21, 2014 / 2:11 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. leading indicator increases solidly in July

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose more than expected in July, boosting hopes of stronger growth in the second half of the year.

The Conference Board said on Thursday that its Leading Economic Index increased 0.9 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.6 percent rise in June.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to gain 0.6 percent after June’s previously reported 0.3 percent increase.

“The economy is gaining traction and growth should continue at a strong pace for the remainder of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist at The Conference Board. “Although housing has been one of the weakest components this year, the sharp gain in building permits helped boost the LEI in July.”

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by James Dalgleish

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