Amid all the gloominess out there about jobs and manufacturing, there is one piece of good news investors may hang their hats on. The Institute of Supply Management’s index of business activity outside the manufacturing sector rose to 49.6 from 49.3, defying the consensus view of economists who believed it would fall to 48.5. The index was, however, still below the threshold for growth, at 50, and well down from December’s level of 53.2.
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