The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.5% in July to 115.80 ( 2004 = 100 ), marking the third month in a row that the index has risen. June saw a 0.3% gain, and May say a 0.7% increase.

The largest positive contributions came from the money supply, the interest rate spread and a drop in average weekly claims for unemployment insurance.

“The leading indicators still suggest economic activity should be slowly expanding through the end of the year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist at The Conference Board. Nonetheless, he added, other indicators showed weakness, “consistent with increasing concerns about the health of the economic expansion.”

Ken Goldstein, another economist at the organization, added, “Despite these growing risks, the economy should continue to expand at a modest pace through the fall.”

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