The Institute of Supply Management's index for February was weaker than expected but still reflected growth in manufacturing. The index dropped to 56.5% from 58.4% in January. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected 57.5%. "The February ISM index provides further evidence the recession is over and the increase in manufacturing activity during the first quarter is likely to be sustained at least at a moderate rate in 2010," wrote Joe Liro, an economist at Stone & McCarthy Research.

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