According to the Conference Board, the index of U.S. leading indicators improved 0.1% month-over-month in April, matching the 0.1% rise in March.

The increase was above the consensus estimate looking for no change.

"These data certainly reflect a weak economy but not one in recession," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. "Moreover, the small increases in the Leading Index in both March and again in April could be a signal that the economy may not weaken further."

March's increase was the first gain in six months.

The index is made up of real money supply, interest rate spread, manufacturers' new orders for non-defence capital goods, manufacturers' new orders for consumer goods and materials, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, vendor performance, index of consumer expectations, stock prices and average weekly manufacturing hours.

The coincident index also was unchanged in April for the second consecutive month.

By Erik Kevin Franco and edited by Cristina Markham