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China's services, manufacturing sectors diverge in February

By Adam Rose BEIJING (Reuters) - China's services sector regained some momentum in February but its manufacturing sector struggled, separate surveys showed on Monday, with the divergence adding to the difficulty in assessing the strength of the economy at the start of 2014. Data for the world's second-largest economy has been mixed, and the Lunar New Year holidays have made it harder to assess momentum. Weak investment and declining manufacturing PMI readings have been countered by surprisingly buoyant exports and bank lending.

Services growth slows in February: Markit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Growth in the services sector as well as the pace of hiring slowed in February, an industry report showed on Monday, the latest data to suggest an unusually cold winter is dragging on economic activity. Financial data firm Markit said its "flash" or preliminary services sector purchasing managers index slipped to 52.7 in February from 56.7 in January. A reading above 50 signals expansion in economic activity.

Most Asian stocks higher as report finds strongest US manufacturing in 4 years

HONG KONG - Most Asian stock markets rose Friday after a strong expansion in U.S. manufacturing offset pessimism from a downbeat China factory report. The private survey by Markit found U.S. factory activity this month grew at the fastest pace in nearly four years. The report helped investors shrug off earlier concerns about China after a separate report found manufacturing in the world's second-biggest economy contracted for a second straight month in February.

Factory activity growth hits nearly four-year high in February: Markit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly four years due in part to growth in new orders, an industry report showed on Thursday. Financial data firm Markit said its "flash" or preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 56.7 in February, its highest since May 2010, compared to 53.7 in the final reading for January. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Service firms drive strong growth in German private sector

BERLIN (Reuters) - Stronger-than-expected growth among service providers drove a faster expansion in Germany's private sector in February, a survey showed, in a sign Europe's largest economy is gaining momentum and continues to drive a regional recovery. Markit's preliminary composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which tracks activity in the manufacturing and services sectors and covers more than two-thirds of the economy, rose to 56.1 in February, up from January's 55.5.

UK households turn cheery on their financial outlook: survey

LONDON (Reuters) - British households are expecting their finances to improve over the next 12 months for the first time in at least five years, a survey showed on Wednesday. Markit's Household Finance Index for February, which gauges financial well-being, suggested the gloom cast over householders' finances since the severe recession of 2008-09 was now starting to lift.

Global factory growth steady in January: PMI

LONDON (Reuters) - Growth in global manufacturing activity was little changed last month from December as the pace of new orders remained near recent elevated levels, a report showed on Monday. JPMorgan's Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index dipped to 52.9 in January from 53.0, above the 50 mark that indicates growth for the 14th month. The December number was the highest since May 2011.

Japan January manufacturing PMI at 8-year high

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity grew in January at the fastest pace in nearly eight years as new orders for goods expanded at a record rate, a sign of robust domestic demand before an increase in the sales tax in April. The Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 56.6 in January from 55.2 in December.

US manufacturing growth slows in Jan - Markit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in January for the first time in three months, hobbled by new orders, though a recent trend of stronger growth appeared to be intact, an industry report showed on Thursday. Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index dipped to 53.7 from December's reading of 55.0. Economists polled by Reuters expected no change.

Euro zone factories end 2013 on a high, but France a worry: PMIs

LONDON (Reuters) - Euro zone manufacturing grew at the fastest rate since mid-2011 in December on brisk business in Germany and Italy, setting the stage for a solid start to the year after a tumultuous 2013, a survey showed on Thursday. Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 52.7 in December from November's 51.6, confirming an early estimate and marking its best reading in 31 months. Readings above 50 indicate growth in activity.
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