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Leading indicators in US increase for fifth month in last six

[NEW YORK] The index of US leading economic indicators increased in August, helped by a stronger housing market and showing slow, steady growth into 2016.

The Conference Board's measure of the economic outlook for the next three to six months rose 0.1 per cent after no change in July, previously reported as a 0.2 per cent decline, the New York-based research group said Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.2 per cent gain in August.

Five of the 10 indicators of the composite measures rose last month. A pickup in building permits and low interest rates were the biggest contributors to the August gain.

The figure "suggests economic growth will remain moderate into the new year, with little reason to expect growth to pick up substantially," Ataman Ozyildirim, director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

"Average working hours and new orders in manufacturing have been weak, pointing to more slow growth in the industrial sector. However, employment, personal income and manufacturing and trade sales have all been rising, helping to offset the weakness in industrial production in recent months."

Economists' estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from a 0.3 per cent decline to a 0.3 per cent increase.

The Conference Board's coincident economic index, a measure of current economic activity, also rose 0.1 per cent in August after a 0.4 per cent gain the prior month. The gauge is determined by growth in industrial production, sales, payrolls and incomes - the measures used by the National Bureau of Economic Research to determine the beginning and end of US recessions.