The index of U.S. leading economic indicators (LEI) unexpectedlydeclined in July, depressed by a slump in building permits thatmainly reflected a proposed change in a New York tax credit.

The Conference Board's gauge, a measure of the outlook for thenext three to six months, decreased 0.2 percent after rising 0.6percent in June, the New York-based group said Thursday. The medianforecast of 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.2percent advance.

The decrease was narrowly based with only two—building permitsand stock prices—of the measure's 10 components retreating. Thatmeans growth in the last half of 2015 will depend even more onAmerican consumers as their spending on items from cars to homesaccounts for almost 70 percent of the economy.

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