The composite index of leading economic indicators gained 0.9% in November, its eighth straight gain, the Conference Board reported yesterday.

LEI rose an unrevised 0.3% in October.

The coincident index was up 0.2% in November after an unrevised unchanged reading in October, while the lagging index fell 0.4% after an unrevised 0.2% decline in October.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted LEI would rise 0.7%.

"The Conference Board LEI has been on an uptrend for more than half a year and is now slightly higher than its latest peak in July 2007," according to Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim.

"Improving financial conditions, labor market indicators and housing permits have helped the LEI continue its gains in November. However, its six-month growth rate has slowed somewhat in recent months," he said.

"The indicators point to a bright new year. The U.S. LEI increased for the eighth consecutive month," said board economist Ken Goldstein.

"Looking ahead, we can expect a slowly improving economy through 2010. The Conference Board coincident economic index for the U.S. also increased in November. Employment largely held steady, making this the first month since December 2007 that it did not make a negative contribution to the index."

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