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Economic gauge rises 0.4 percent in December, giving cautious optimism for 2012

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A gauge of future economic activity rose in December, providing evidence the economy was gaining strength as the year ended.

The Conference Board said today that its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.4 percent last month following a revised 0.2 percent increase in November and a revised 0.6 percent gain in October.

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