08/22/2013 10:25 EDT | Updated 10/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Measure of US economy's health rose in July, suggesting stronger growth in second half of 2013

WASHINGTON - A gauge of the U.S. economy's health rose in July, pointing to stronger growth in the second half of the year.

The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators increased 0.6 per cent last month to a reading of 96.0. The increase followed no change in June and 0.2 per cent increase in May.

The index from the business research group is comprised of several previously released data point that when combined can signal economic conditions over the next three to six months.

The solid gain suggests economic growth is picking up after a weak start. The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.4 per cent from January through June. Many economists expect growth could improve to a 2.5 per cent rate in the second half of 2013.