Forex Pros - Service sector activity in the U.K. fell more-than-expected in April, retreating from last month's 13-month high, industry data showed on Thursday.
In a report, market research group Markit said the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Services Purchasing Managers Index fell to 54.3 in March, after jumping to a 13-month high of 57.1 in March.
Analysts had expected the index to decline to 56.0 in April.
On the index, a level above 50.0 indicates expansion in the industry, below 50.0 indicates contraction.
Following March's surge, growth of the U.K. service sector eased in April but nonetheless remained marked as levels of incoming new business rose to the greatest extent in over a year.
Cost pressures were again elevated, which companies responded to with the steepest rise in output charges since September 2008 and, in some instances, a reduction in employment.
Commenting on the report, Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit said, "Taken together with the fall in the manufacturing and construction PMIs, the services data suggest that GDP growth is now running at a quarterly rate of just 0.4%, which is clearly a disappointment for both the Bank of England and the Government."
Following the release of that data, the pound was down against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD shedding 0.07% to hit 1.6476.
Meanwhile, European stock markets were mixed. The EURO STOXX 50 dropped 0.32%, France's CAC 40 slid 0.22%, the FTSE 100 eased up 0.12%, while Germany's DAX gained 0.25%.
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