Economy Briefs

ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Services sector growth slowest in 17 months

Service businesses such as restaurants, hotels and financial companies in July experienced their weakest growth in 17 months.

The report Wednesday from the Institute for Supply Management confirms other data that show the economy is struggling two years after the recession officially ended.

The trade group of purchasing executives said its index for services companies fell to 52.7, from 53.3 in June. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

A slumping service sector put Wall Street on track for another wild day of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 150 points after the report was released. But a late-day rally erased all the earlier losses, and the Dow closed up 29 points to end an eight-day losing streak.

The ISM index covers 90 percent of the work force. It reached a five-year high of 59.7 in February, but has fallen since then. The July reading was the lowest since February 2010.

New orders to service companies, an indication of future business, increased but at the slowest pace since August 2009, according to the ISM report. Services firms are still hiring more workers, the report said. But employment growth dipped in July.

BREWING

Budweiser can set for another redesign

ST. LOUIS — Budweiser is getting a new look as its parent company tries to revive weak sales in the U.S.

Anheuser Busch unveiled a bolder, sleeker design for its cans Wednesday that puts a heavy emphasis on the “bowtie” design it has made a focus in recent marketing.

It’s the 12th redesign since Anheuser-Busch began offering Budweiser in cans in 1936.

The new cans will appear in the U.S. in coming weeks and in other countries later this year as the brewer tries to build the iconic U.S. brand’s sales in emerging markets.

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