SERVICE GROWTH SLOWS: U.S. service companies, which employ roughly 90 percent of the work force, expanded more slowly in April. The Institute for Supply Management's index of non-manufacturing activity dropped to 53.5 from 56 in March.

MODEST EXPANSION: Readings above 50 indicate expansion, so April marked the 28th straight month of growth for the sector. The reading was slightly below the long-run average for the index of 53.9, suggesting only modest growth.

CAUTIOUS SIGNS: A gauge of hiring fell to its lowest level in four months, although it still indicated that companies are adding jobs. And growth in new orders slowed.