Conference Board Leading Indicators Rise 0.1 Percent in April

The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators, a key U.S. economic forecasting gauge edged up in April, pointing to sluggish growth in the world's biggest economy in the wake of uncertain times during the war with Iraq.

The Conference Board said the index of leading economic indicators rose 0.1 percent in April, in line with expectations of Wall Street economists, after a 0.2 percent drop the previous month.

"The leading economic index points to more of the same heading into the summer," the board's chief economist Ken Goldstein said in a statement.

"While the economy is still growing, and not losing momentum, growth is very slow and will be that way for at least a few more months since investment, inventory and export growth are contributing very little to overall growth," he added.

The coincident index dropped 0.1 percent in April after being flat the previous month.

The lagging index, a measure of past trends in the economy, fell 0.5 percent in April after a 0.1 drop the prior month.

Five of the 10 components that make up the leading indicators index rose last month, led by consumer expectations, money supply and stock prices.

The negative contributors were slower deliveries, jobless claims, weekly manufacturing hours and capital goods orders, while consumer goods remained flat.