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Small Business Growth

Euro zone business activity sees surprise growth [Video]

STORY: Euro zone business activity made a surprise return to growth in January.S&P Global’s flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index – or PMI – climbed to 50.2 this month from 49.3 in December.Anything below 50 is seen as a contraction, but above that means growth.The index released Tuesday (January 24) is seen as a good measure of economic health.January was the first time it had been above the 50 mark since June, and was ahead of analyst projections.Firms also raised headcount at a faster rate this month – which could be a sign of growing optimism.The employment index rose to a three-month high. The bloc’s key services index also surprised when it rose to a six-month high.Manufacturing was still below the 50 mark however – coming in at 48.8 in January.Though that was slightly better than a month before.The bloc’s modest growth could suggest its economic downturn is not as deep as feared.Though analysts still predict a technical recession – that’s two straight quarters of contraction. Inflation is still a key issue in the bloc and the European Central Bank wants to fight it.A Reuters poll showed market watchers believe the ECB will do 50 basis point interest rate rises at each of its next two meetings.