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Euro-Area Services, Manufacturing Fall Less Than Forecast

Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted at a slower pace than economists forecast in December as European leaders declared progress on the latest plan to combat the debt crisis, now entering its fourth year.

A composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries rose to 47.3 from 46.5 in November, London-based Markit Economics said today. Economists had forecast a November reading of 46.9, according to the median of 16 estimates a Bloomberg News survey. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. A separate report showed European car sales fell 10 percent in November, bringing registrations so far this year to a 19-year low.