Nov 20, 10:36 AM EST

Gauge of US economy posts 0.9 percent October gain


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- An index designed to predict the future health of the economy rose in October at the fastest pace in three months.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.9 percent last month following a 0.7 percent rise in September, which had been initially reported as a slightly stronger 0.8 percent gain. The October reading was the best showing since a 1.2 percent jump in July.

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said the October performance "points to continued economic growth through the holiday season and into early 2015." But he said there were continuing concerns about slow business investment and lackluster income growth.

The leading index is composed of 10 forward-pointing indicators and eight showed strength in October, led by favorable interest rates and gains in manufacturing orders.

Stock prices were a drag on the index in October and average weekly manufacturing hours held steady.

The overall economy grew at a solid 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter and many economists believe growth will remain at a healthy pace of around 3 percent over the next year.

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