Gauge of US economy posts slight 0.2 percent gain in January, smallest increase in 5 months

Economic Indicators Associated Press

An index designed to predict the future health of the U.S. economy rose in January by the smallest amount in five months, indicating the economy's momentum may have slowed a bit.

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The New York-based Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.2 percent in January, the weakest gain since a 0.1 percent rise in August. In addition, the December increase was revised lower to a 0.4 percent rise instead of the initially reported 0.5 percent increase.

Conference Board economists say that the lack of strong momentum in residential construction and a weak outlook for new orders in manufacturing pose some downside risks for the economy.