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Euro-zone composite PMI falls to 27-month low *XEU *PIC*

Euro-zone composite PMI falls to 27-month low (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- The preliminary composite purchasing managers index for the 17-nation euro zone fell to 47.2 in October from 49.1 in September, its lowest reading since July 2009, Markit Economics reported Monday. Economists had forecast a decline to 48.8. A reading of less than 50 signals contraction, while a figure of more than 50 indicates expansion. The euro-zone services PMI fell to 47.2 from 48.8 in September, while the manufacturing PMI dropped to 47.3 from 48.5. On a national basis, Germany bucked the trend, posting a preliminary October composite PMI of 51.2 versus a reading of 50.5 in September, buoyed by a rise in the services index. The euro-zone PMI reading "signals a heightened risk of the euro zone sliding back into recession. The economy started the fourth quarter with the rate of contraction accelerating to the fastest since July 2009," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.