Source: Reuters

U.S. factory activity expanded at a more moderate pace in April due in part to a slowdown in new orders, but a rise in export orders to a near 1-1/2-year high and signs an inventory overhang drag was fading offered hope for the manufacturing sector.

Another report on Monday showed construction spending rose to an 8-1/2-year high in March and the prior month’s outlays were revised higher, implying a small upward revision to the first quarter’s pedestrian growth rate.

“Manufacturing is moving forward but we have the tortoise, not the hare in this race,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity slipped to 50.8 last month from a reading of 51.8 in March. Despite the fall, April marked the second straight month of expansion and was also the second highest reading in the last eight months….

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