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Conference Board Index Up 0.7%         05/21 09:47

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- An index designed to predict the future health of the 
economy posted a strong gain in April, a positive sign that the economy is 
beginning to accelerate from a sharp slowdown during the winter.

   The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators rose 0.7 percent 
and the March increase was revised up to show a 0.4 percent gain, better than 
the initial 0.2 percent estimate. Those two gains followed a decline of 0.2 
percent in February.

   Economists at the Conference Board say that the solid rebound in April is 
evidence that the paltry economic performance during the first quarter should 
be a temporary slowdown. 


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