European economic activity accelerates, survey finds

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The eurozone economy got off to a strong start in 2014, a private-sector report showed Thursday, with output reaching the highest level since the first half of 2011.

A broad survey of purchasing managers by Markit Economics, a data-analytics firm, rose to 53.2 this month from 52.1 in December, beating economists’ expectations, and reaching its highest level since June 2011.

The survey tracks both services and manufacturing sectors and showed that eurozone factory output expanding at the fastest rate in nearly three years. Services saw a more modest increase.

An index reading above 50 signals expansion, while a reading below that level signals contraction.

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