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Weekly Leading Index Lower

A gauge of future U.S. economic growth was lower in the latest week... and its growth index reached a 50-week high, a research group said on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, an independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index slipped to 139.2 in the week ending Jan. 19 from 140.8 in the prior week.

Annualized growth rate was up to 4.5 percent from 4.4 percent in the previous period.

"WLI growth has climbed steadily since the summer and is now at a 50-week high, thus the U.S. economic growth outlook continues to improve," said Melinda Hubman, research associate at ECRI.

The drop in the index was offset... Hubman said.

Occasionally the WLI level and growth rate can move in different directions, because the latter is derived from a four-week moving average.