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

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

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