The U.S. services sector expanded at a slower pace in July with the non-manufacturing business activity composite index reaching 52.7 in the month, down from  53.3 in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Institute for Supply Management reported Wednesday.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a 53.6 level. An index reading below 50 signals a slowing economy, while a level above 50 suggests expansion. The prices paid index, closely watched for signs of inflation, dipped to 56.6 from 60.9. The employment index decreased to 52.5 from 54.1.

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