Jan. 23, 2007 -- The index of leading economic indicators rose by 0.3 percent in December, driven by a stronger outlook for the job and housing markets, the Conference Board reported on Tuesday.

Six of ten components of the New York-based research group's monthly index improved last month, including building permits, jobless claims, real money supply, stock prices, vendor performance, and new manufacturers' orders. Those gains were offset by sagging consumer expectations, the report said.

The index, which gauges the strength of the economy over the next three to six months, has stayed flat over the past few months.

The group's coincident index, which measures current conditions, also rose in December, by 0.2 percent, the report said.

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Published on: Jan 23, 2007