Measure of future growth up 0.5 pct. in December

Topics: From the Wires,

WASHINGTON (AP) — A measure of the U.S. economy designed to signal future activity increased in December from November, suggesting growth may strengthen in 2013.

The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators rose 0.5 percent in December, the best showing since September. In November, the index was unchanged. The gauge is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out.

A decline in applications for unemployment benefits, gains on Wall Street and increases in applications for building permits drove the index higher in December.

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