December 7, 2007 / 3:35 PM / 12 years ago

US leading index growth rate hits 5-year low -ECRI

NEW YORK, Dec 7 (Reuters) - A weekly gauge of future U.S. economic growth ticked up on stronger housing activity and higher stock prices, while its annualized growth rate hit a near five-year low, 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 138.7 in the week ended Nov. 30 from a downwardly revised 136.9, initially reported as 138.1.

The effect of stronger housing activity and higher stock prices on the index was partially offset by lower commodity prices, said Melinda Hubman, research associate at ECRI.

The WLI annualized growth rate fell to minus 2.7 percent from a downwardly revised minus 2.2 percent, reaching its lowest since the week of Nov. 22, 2002.

“With WLI growth falling to a five-year low, the U.S. economic growth outlook has clearly faded,” Hubman said. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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