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U.S. factory activity growth hits highest since May 2010: Markit

Workers stand in the steel coil yard at the ThyssenKrupp Steel USA factory in Calvert, Alabama November 22, 2013. REUTERS/Lyle Ratliff
Workers stand in the steel coil yard at the ThyssenKrupp Steel USA factory in Calvert, Alabama November 22, 2013. REUTERS/Lyle Ratliff

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated in February, rising more than expected to its highest since May 2010, an industry report showed on Monday.

Financial data firm Markit said the final read of its U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 57.1 in February, above both the preliminary read of 56.7 and expectations for a read of 56.6. The report was much stronger than January's 53.7 reading, which was a three-month low, hurt by bad weather.

Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

The new orders component rose to 59.6 from 53.9, above the preliminary read of 58.8 and the highest read for the subindex since April 2010. Output rose to 57.8 from 53.5, its highest since March 2011 and above the "flash" read of 57.2.

"This to a large extent reflects a temporary rebound after supply chains and production had been disrupted by severe weather," Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit said in a statement. "While bad weather continued to hamper production at many companies in February, many also reported that weather-related issues were being overcome."

Williamson added, "The upturn pushes the trend over the last three months to the strongest since May 2012, suggesting that the sector maintained robust underlying growth momentum throughout the winter months."

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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