An indicator of future economic activity rose slightly in December, suggesting the economy may grow at a modest clip in the next few months, an industry-backed research group said Tuesday.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday its Index of Leading Economic Indicators edged up 0.3 percent last month, following a revised flat reading in November and a slight decline in October.

Market analysts expected the index to rise 0.4 percent.

The index stood at 138 versus 138.2 in November. The index is closely watched because it is designed to forecast economic activity over the next three to six months.