Measure of future health of US economy slips 0.2 percent in July after 4 strong gains

Economic Indicators Associated Press

An index designed to predict the future health of the U.S. economy declined slightly in July yet still pointed to modest growth in the months ahead.

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The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators dropped 0.2 percent in July, after healthy gains of 0.6 percent in both June and May.

The index "is still pointing to moderate economic growth through the remainder of the year," Ataman Ozyildirim, director of growth research at the Conference Board, said. July's decline was primarily driven by a sharp fall in building permits.

The leading index is composed of 10-forward pointing indicators. Seven of the 10 indicators advanced in July while two — building permits and stock prices — declined. One indicator, average weekly manufacturing hours, was unchanged.