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WLI Growth at 21-Week High

A weekly measure of U.S. future economic growth climbed along with its annualized growth rate, indicating signs of a smoother economic recovery, a research group said on Friday.

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a New York-based independent forecasting group, said its Weekly Leading Index rose to 106.3 for the week ending March 20 from 105.8 in the previous week.

The index rose to levels last seen in mid-February, and its annualized growth rate -- while still in negative territory -- reached a 21-week high at -23.2 percent, up from the prior week's rate of -23.9 percent.

It was the index's highest growth rate reading since late October, when it was -22.5 percent.

"With WLI growth recovering to a 21-week high, the pace of contraction in the U.S. economy should begin to ease in coming months," said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at ECRI...