Investing.com - Service sector activity in the U.S. grew at a faster rate than expected in January, boosting optimism over the economic outlook, industry data showed on Wednesday.
In a report, the Institute of Supply Management said its non-manufacturing purchasing manager''s index rose to 54.0 last month from a reading of 53.0 in December. Analysts had expected the index to ease up to 53.7 in January.
On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding, below 50.0 indicates the sector is contracting.
The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 56.3, which is 2.0 points higher than the seasonally adjusted reading of 54.3 reported in December, reflecting growth for the 54th consecutive month and at a faster rate.
The New Orders Index increased to 50.9, 0.5 points higher than the seasonally adjusted reading of 50.4 registered in December. The Employment Index increased 0.8 points to 56.4 from the December seasonally adjusted reading of 55.6 and indicates growth in employment for the 25th consecutive month and at a faster rate.
Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar was higher against the euro, with EUR/USD shedding 0.05% to trade at 1.3513.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets remained lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.15%, the S&P 500 index declined 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite index dipped 0.05%.