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Weekly Leading Index Edges Lower

NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - A weekly gauge of future U.S. economic growth edged lower... while its annualized growth rate slipped to a 4-1/2-year low, a research group said on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index fell to 138.1 in the week ended Nov. 23 from a downwardly revised 139.1 in the prior week, initially reported as 139.2.

The annualized growth rate fell to minus 1.8 from minus 1.2 percent to its lowest since March 14, 2003.

"With WLI growth at its worst since just before the Iraq War, U.S. economic growth prospects have deteriorated further, yet fall short of a recession forecast," Achuthan said.