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Philly Fed manufacturing weakens in February

WaSHINGTON (MarketWatch)
The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index dropped sharply to a reading of negative 6.3 in February from a 9.4 reading in January, well below a MarketWatch-compiled economist forecast of 7.3
The index had been in positive territory for eight months
The new-orders components dropped to negative 5.2 from 5.1 in the prior month, while shipments fell to negative 9.9 from 12.1                    

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El Genio dijo...

Philly manufacturing index takes big dive in February

Blame the weather? Reading contradicts gain in flash Markit PMI

El Genio dijo...

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Philadelphia-area manufacturers reported worsening conditions in February, a reading that contradicted an upbeat national manufacturing purchasing managers index for the month released earlier in the morning.

The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing survey for February sank to negative 6.3 from 9.4 in January, the regional bank said Thursday. This is the weakest reading since February 2013 and the first negative reading since last May.

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Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 7.3 reading. Any number below zero indicates contraction.

U.S. stocks initially reacted negatively to the data, before recovering. Stocks had started the session stronger after the flash Markit manufacturing gauge rose to 56.7 — the highest level in almost four years — from 53.7 in January.

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“Clearly manufacturing activity is having fits and starts without a clear signal of acceleration. We continue to see a modest level of manufacturing output in the coming quarter,” said Bricklin Dwyer, an economist at BNP Paribas.

In the Philadelphia region, new orders fell to negative 5.2 from 5.1 in January. Shipments dropped to negative 9.9 from 12.1.

Much of the weakness was attributed to winter storms.

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Mike Trebing, a senior economic analyst at the Philadelphia Fed, noted that over half of the manufacturers surveyed still expect increases in production in the first quarter.

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Chris Wiilliamson, chief economist at Markit, said his index showed the improvement in the flash PMI “provides the first indications that production has rebounded from the weather-related slowdown seen in January.”

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The flash PMI is based on approximately 85%-90% of total PMI survey responses each month, and the index is similar to the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index, which last month sank to 51.3 in January from 56.5 in the prior month, marking the lowest level in eight months.

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Among individual components, the new orders index increased to 58.8 from 53.9 in the prior month. The flash output index rose to 57.2 from 53.5. Job hiring trends continued to be positive, with the employment index rising to 54.0 from 53.2.

Williamson noted the backlog of work showed the largest rise since prior to the financial crisis as well as a steep fall in inventories. “Both point to ongoing growth of production and hiring in March,” he said.