Gauge of Economic Activity Up in January
WASHINGTON (AP) - A gauge of future economic activity rose in January for the fourth straight month in January, providing evidence the economy is strengthening in the new year.
The Conference Board says its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.4 percent in January, following a 0.5 percent rise in December.
Seven of the 10 indicators that make up the index increased in January, led by strength in the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates. Four indicators held the index back. The largest negative was a drop in consumer expectations.
Meanwhile, higher costs for food, gas, rent and clothes pushed consumer prices higher in January. The Labor Department says the consumer price index increased 0.2 percent last month, after a flat reading in December. When volatile food and energy are excluded, the increase in so-called "core" prices ticked up the same amount -- 0.2 percent.
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