Eurozone growth gaining traction _ before Ukraine

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LONDON (AP) — Further signs have emerged that the eurozone economic recovery was gaining traction in the period before the crisis in Ukraine escalated.

A survey Wednesday from financial information company Markit suggested that economic growth in the eurozone accelerated to a 32-month high in February. Its composite purchasing managers index — a broad gauge of business sentiment — rose to 53.3 points in February. That was up from the initial estimate of 52.7 and ahead of January's 52.9. Anything above 50 indicates growth.

Meanwhile, Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency, said retail sales in January rose by a monthly rate of 1.6 percent in January, more than offsetting the previous month's 1.3 percent decline. Eurostat also confirmed that the eurozone grew by a quarterly 0.3 percent in the final three months of 2013.

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