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U.K. services PMI rises to 7-month high of 52.4 in March

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Investing.com - Service sector activity in the U.K. expanded at the fastest rate since August last month, industry data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, market research group Markit said the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS Services Purchasing Managers Index rose to 52.4 in March from a reading of 51.8 in February.

Analysts had expected the index to ease down to 51.5 last month.

On the index, a level above 50.0 indicates expansion in the industry, below 50.0 indicates contraction.

Payroll numbers increased, albeit at a factional pace, while confidence in the outlook improved to the highest for ten months.

Commenting on the report, Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at survey compilers Markit said, "The government and Bank of England will breathe sighs of relief in seeing signs of a gathering upturn in the service sector during March, which looks set to have helped the UK avoid a triple-dip recession by the narrowest of margins."

Following the release of that data, the pound held on to losses against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD shedding 0.39% to trade at 1.5074.

Meanwhile, European stock markets remained mixed. London's FTSE 100 dipped 0.2%, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.5%, France's CAC 40 added 0.35%, while Germany's DAX rose 0.2%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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