NEW YORK — A research group said U.S. economic growth should strengthen by summer, but cautioned consumer concerns over gas and food prices could drag on the expansion.
The Conference Board said Thursday its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.4 percent in March. The index, a measure of future activity, has increased for nine straight months. Growing demand for U.S. manufactured goods and a rebound in requests for building permits helped drive last month’s gains. Six of the index’s 10 components rose.