Leading economic indicators edge up in January

A gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose modestly in January, pointing to steady growth in the months ahead.

The Conference Board said on Thursday its Leading Economic Index increased 0.2 percent to 94.1 last month after advancing 0.5 percent in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to rise 0.3 percent in January.

"The indicators point to an underlying economy that remains relatively sound but sluggish," said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board. "The biggest positive factor is housing. The biggest risk, however, is the adverse impact of cuts in federal spending."

(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Kenneth Barry)