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US manufacturing contracted in February

[NEW YORK] The US economy's manufacturing sector contracted in February but at a slower pace than the previous month, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 49.5 from 48.2 the month before. The reading was above expectations of 48.5 from a Reuters poll of 88 economists.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector and a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The employment index rose to 48.5 from 45.9 a month earlier. Expectations called for a reading of 46.4.

New orders stayed level at 51.5. The prices paid index rose to 38.5 from 33.5, compared to expectations of 34.5.REUTERS

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