“Service-sector activity contracted in April,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond service-sector activity survey released yesterday.

“Revenues continued to fall, although the further slide in revenues at services-providing firms was partially offset by a less pronounced decline in retail sales,” the survey said. “Big-ticket sales dropped sharply, however. In addition, shopper traffic diminished. Retailers’ inventories dropped in line with previous monthly reductions since the start of this year. Looking ahead six months, survey respondents’ outlook for expected demand for their goods and services was guarded.”

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