NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Economic activity in the services sector rose more than expected in December, according to the latest report from the Institute for Supply management. The non-manufacturing index rose to 57.1% from 55% in November. Economists were expecting the index to climb modestly to 55.7%. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The business activity index rose 6.5 percentage points to 63.5%, reflecting growth for the 13th consecutive month. New orders rose 5.3 percentage points to 63%, its highest since August 2005. The employment index dropped 2 percentage points to 50.5%. The price index rose 6.8 percentage points to 70%. Stocks were mixed Wednesday morning. The PowerShares QQQ ( QQQQ) was ticking higher by 0.15% following the report. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF ( DIA) and the SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY) were still weak. -- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Shanthi Bharatwaj. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/shavenk. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.