ISM manufacturing gauge slows to 50.8% in October (by Jeffry Bartash)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector decelerated in October as production and inventories declined, according to a closely followed index. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing gauge dropped to 50.8% last month - just slightly above a 2011 low - from 51.6% in September. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected the index to rise to 52.1%. Reading over 50% indicate that more manufacturers are expanding instead of shrinking. Only eight of the 18 industries tracked by Tempe, Ariz.-based ISM reported growth in October, down from 12 in the prior month.