NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic growth rose slightly in the latest week while its yearly growth index continued to fall to a 31-week low, upholding expectations the economy will likely decelerate starting 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 was 130.6 for the week ended March 5, up from 129.8 the previous week.
While the index has generally tended downward in 2010, its annualized growth rate component has fallen for 12 straight weeks. It now stands at 13.1 percent, down from 13.7 percent the prior week, marking its lowest reading since July 2009.
"While coincident indicators like retail sales growth have been rising in the wake of last year's strength in WLI growth, they are likely to start easing back by mid-year," said ECRI Managing Director Lakshman Achuthan.
The group's measure of yearly growth hit a record high of 28.6 percent in October 2009, and has continued to ease in what Achuthan says will result in slower expansion beginning during the summer months. (Reporting by Camille Drummond, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)