Firmer business activity and orders helped lift a gauge of U.S. service providers to a five-month high in January, indicating steady growth in the broader economy at risk of wavering amid mounting concerns about the coronavirus.
The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index climbed to 55.5, exceeding the median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from 54.9 a month earlier, according to data issued Wednesday. A measure of business activity climbed to an almost one-year high. The subindex, which parallels the group's index of factory production, has jumped 8.6 points in the last two months, the biggest gain in 11 years.
The improvement in services activity and a rebound in the ISM's manufacturing gauge show business optimism was building just as the coronavirus epidemicbegan to exact a bigger toll -- both in terms of the growing number of lives lost and economic disruption.
Source : Bloomberg