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Manufacturing contraction continues

From news services

NEW YORK — A private trade group says its index of manufacturing activity was flat in April, stalled at its lowest level in five years, indicating that the economy continues to contract.

The reading of 48.6 today from the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, beat economists’ expectations, though. Economists had expected a reading of 48, according to the consensus estimate of Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Financial/IFR.

A reading above 50 shows the economy is growing, while a reading below 50 signals contraction.

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