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updated: 12/19/2013 10:57 AM

Gauge of economy's health up 0.8 percent

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A measure of the U.S. economy's health posted a solid gain in November, suggesting momentum was building at the end of the year.

The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.8 percent in November compared with October, when the index had posted a much smaller 0.1 percent gain. The index rose 1 percent in September, the month before the 16-day partial government shutdown.

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The index is designed to signal economic conditions over the next three to six months.

Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim said that the November index increase suggested "gradually strengthening economic conditions through early 2014."

The November gain was driven by improvements in labor markets, manufacturing orders and strong financial market indicators reflecting in part stock market gains.

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