WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The leading economic index rose 0.3% in April and pointed to faster growth in the spring after a weak first-quarter reading on gross domestic product, according to a survey produced by the Conference Board. The increase in April follows a 0.5% gain in March. “The recent trend in the U.S. LEI, led by the positive outlook of consumers and financial markets, continues to point to a growing economy, perhaps even a cyclical pickup,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles research at the board. “First quarter’s weak GDP growth is likely a temporary hiccup as the economy returns to its long-term trend of about 2%.” A measure of current conditions rose 0.3%, as did a” lagging” index. The LEI is a weighted gauge of 10 indicators designed to signal business-cycle peaks and valleys.