The key Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index edged down to a reading of 52.9% from 53.5% in January. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a reading of 52.8%. One disappointment element was that the employment index of the ISM slowed to 51.4% from 54.1%. The new orders index eased to 52.5% from 52.9%. Any reading above 50% indicates improving conditions.
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