U.S. services sector growth slows for 2nd straight month in Aug: Markit

NEW YORK Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:49am EDT

A waiter serves dessert to a table of men listening to Chinese millionaire Chen Guangbiao during a lunch he sponsored for hundreds of needy New Yorkers at Loeb Boathouse in New York's Central Park June 25, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A waiter serves dessert to a table of men listening to Chinese millionaire Chen Guangbiao during a lunch he sponsored for hundreds of needy New Yorkers at Loeb Boathouse in New York's Central Park June 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK Aug 25 (Reuters) - - The pace of growth in the U.S. services sector fell for a second straight month in August, dropping to its lowest level since May, a survey showed on Monday.

Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary services Purchasing Managers Index fell to 58.5 in August, below both the July reading of 60.8 and the analyst expectation for a read of 59.5.

A reading above 50 signals expansion in economic activity.

"The U.S. service sector continues to enjoy a strong growth phase, but the latest survey suggests the recovery has lost some momentum since hitting a post-crisis peak in June," said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.

The component measuring new business rose to 58.2 from 57.3 last month, while confidence about the year-ahead business outlook in the services sector rebounded off its lowest level since November 2012.

Markit's preliminary composite PMI, a weighted average of its manufacturing and services indexes, fell to 58.8 in August from 60.6 in July.

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