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The Index of Leading Economic Indicators, a widely watched barometer of future economic activity, edged lower in September for the fourth month in a row, indicating a slowing in economic growth, a private research group reported Thursday.

The Conference Board said that its indicator of upcoming activity in the economy fell 0.1 percent last month, following declines of 0.3 percent in August and 0.3 percent in July.

The group said that while the weakness over the last several months in the economy has become more widespread, the declines in the indicator are not yet large enough nor have they lasted long enough to suggest that the current economic expansion is ending.

The index is closely followed because it is designed to forecast the economy's health over the coming three to six months.

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