U.K. services PMI declined to 57.6 in March from 58.1 in February and missed consensus of 58.1.
Activity, new business and employment continued to rise, but at weaker rates, while output charges stagnated as input cost inflation softened.
Still, the services, manufacturing and construction sectors "continue to expand at very strong rates," says Markit, and indicate that GDP grew 0.7% in Q1.
Inflation is set to decline, easing pressure on the BOE to tighten monetary policy and "extending this 'Goldilocks' period of above-trend growth and falling inflation," Markit adds.
The pound takes a dive and is -0.1%, while the FTSE 100 is +0.2%. (PR)