US factory growth slows in October

There was an unexpected slowdown in growth in the US manufacturing sector last month, raising fresh questions about the strength of the recovery in the world's largest economy.

A widely followed survey from Institute of Supply Management showed that national factory activity had dropped to 50.8 in October from 51.6 in September, against predictions of a rise to 52. A reading above 50 signals continued expansion in the sector.

The figures will worry policymakers at the US Federal Reserve, who began a two-day policy meeting in Washington yesterday.