Activity in the manufacturing sector continued to contract in the month of April, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Friday, although the pace of contraction slowed by more than economists had expected.

The ISM said its index of activity in the sector rose to 40.1 in April from 36.3 in March, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting a more modest increase to a reading of 38.4.

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