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Oil price bites US service firms

RTE Business
November 03, 2004

The vast US services sector grew in October for the 19th straight month, but a survey showed that high energy prices began to bite.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of non-manufacturing activity rose 3.1 points from September to 59.8 in October, higher than expected. It was the 19th consecutive reading above the 50 mark which separates growth from contraction.

A breakdown showed that growth in new orders growth accelerated, with the index up two points to 60.5, but prices paid by companies also climbed at a higher rate, with the index surging seven points to 74.1.

Executives felt the squeeze of a high-priced oil market even though activity picked up.

Separate figures from the Commerce Department showed that orders for US factory goods fell for the second straight month in September, dipping 0.4%. This was the largest decline in factory orders since April. The drop was unexpected, as economists had forecast factory orders to rise slightly.



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