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Japan's Feb. Leading Index Rises More Than Expected

Japan's leading index rose for the fourth consecutive month in February, and exceeded the consensus forecast, preliminary data published by the Cabinet Office revealed Friday.

The leading index rose to 96.6 in February from 94.5 a month ago. Economists were forecasting the reading to rise to 95.8. The index signals the direction of the economy in the months ahead.

The coincident index also improved in February, to 93.7 from 92.7 in January. The expected reading for January was 93.6. The coincident indicator is used to identify the current state of the economy.

At the same time, the lagging index came in at 85.6, up from 83.4 in January.

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