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U.S. leading economic indicator increases solidly

Street signs for Wall St. and Broad St. hang at the corner outside the New York Stock Exchange March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gauge of future U.S. economic activity increased more than expected in June, boosted by a strengthening housing market, suggesting growth will continue to gain momentum for the remainder of the year .

The Conference Board said on Thursday that its Leading Economic Index rose 0.6 percent after an upwardly revised 0.8 percent increase in May.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising 0.2 percent last month after May's previously reported 0.7 percent increase.

"The upward trend in the U.S. LEI seems to be gaining more momentum with another large increase in June pointing to continued strength in the economic outlook for the remainder of the year," said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board.

"Housing permits and the interest rate spread drove the latest gain in the LEI, while labor market indicators such as average workweek and initial claims remained unchanged."

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)