Manufacturing index shows contraction

NEW YORK (AP) -- A gauge of the nation's manufacturing sector contracted in August.

The Institute for Supply Management says its closely-watched manufacturing index fell to 49.9, down one-tenth of a percent from July. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The snapshot has been hovering near 50 this year, indicating flat activity.

The group's inflation index hit a six-month low. For the first time in months, there were more items on the list of falling commodities costs, including corn, fuel oil, natural gas and copper.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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