UPDATE: Markit’s preliminary PMI estimate for February is out.

The index fell to 55.2 from last month’s 55.8 reading.

Economists predicted a smaller drop to 55.5.

Any reading over 50 indicates expansion, so today’s release indicates a slowing pace of expansion.

One sub-component, however – new export orders – dipped into contractionary territory.

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Below is a breakdown of the various sub-components of the index:

Photo: Markit

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ORIGINAL: Minutes away from the release of Markit’s flash U.S. PMI index reading for February, due out at 8:58 AM ET.

Economists expect the index to moderate to 55.5 from last month’s 55.8 reading.

We will have the full release LIVE at 8:58 AM ET. Click here to refresh for updates >

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