The services sector expanded more rapidly than economists expected in July, according to data released Wednesday by the Institute for Supply Management.

The institute’s non-manufacturing business activity composite index increased to 54.3 on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 53.8 in June. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 53.0 July level. Readings below 50 signal a slowing economy, while those above 50 suggest expansion.

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