Leading indicators suggest pickup in late '09

The Conference Board's measure of leading indicators ticks up 1% in April, marking the first increase since June 2008.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A forward-looking measure of the U.S. economy in April posted its first rise since June 2008, a private research firm said Thursday, suggesting a pickup in growth awaits the economy in the second half of 2009.

The index of leading indicators, which is supposed to forecast economic trends six to nine months ahead, rose 1% in April after a revised 0.2% fall the previous month, the New York-based Conference Board said.

"The leading indicators suggest that while the recession will continue in the near term, the declines will be less intense," said Ken Goldstein, a Conference Board economist.

"If the indicators continue on the current track, that point might be reached in the second half of the year," Goldstein said.

Wall Street economists had forecast a rise of 0.8% after an initial 0.3% March drop. To top of page

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