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Markit U.S. Factory Index Fell to 55.4 in April From 55.5

The Markit Economics preliminary U.S. manufacturing index decreased to 55.4 in April from a final reading of 55.5 a month earlier, the London-based group said today.

A reading above 50 for the purchasing managers’ measure indicates expansion. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 19 economists was 56, with estimates ranging from 54.5 to 57.

“Manufacturers reported a solid start to the second quarter, with output growing at its fastest pace for over three years,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a statement. “With manufacturing acting as a good bellwether of the rest of the economy, the survey bodes well for further robust economic growth in the second quarter.”

The Markit measure is based on replies from about 85 percent to 90 percent of companies in a poll of more than 600 American manufacturers.

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