The U.S. economy will improve over the next few months, according to a study published Monday by a business research group.

The Conference Board says its index of leading indicators rose six-tenths of a percent in August. It is the fifth month in a row that the index has predicted gains. The index measures a range of indicators, that include stock market prices and permits issued to build new houses.  

Later this week other reports on U.S. interest rates, home sales, factory activities and consumer sentiment will be issued.

Top officials of the U.S. central bank (Federal Reserve) meet in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess the economy and decide whether to change interest rates. Economists surveyed by the Bloomberg financial news service predict the Fed will keep interest rates steady at their current low level. The low interest rates are intended to stimulate the economy, which appears to be emerging from the worst recession in decades.

A separate report on housing sales is predicted to show an increase, and new data on the factory sector is also expected to show growth.

A report to be issued on Friday on consumer sentiment is expected little or no change.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.