December 13, 2017

Manufacturing Sector Regaining Some Momentum

Although another report on Monday showed a slight pullback in factory activity in New York state this month, businesses were upbeat about the future. In addition, gauges of new orders and shipments in the state jumped, all pointing to a pick-up in manufacturing after a speed bump in the spring.

“Growth in the manufacturing sector is picking up and will run faster over the balance of the year than has been the case in recent months,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Manufacturing production advanced 0.7 percent, the Federal Reserve said. The rise, which more than reversed the prior month’s 0.4 percent drop, helped to lift overall industrial production 0.4 percent.

Factory output had lagged solid gains in the Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity.

“The sharp recovery in the ISM since May followed now by this surge in manufacturing output are encouraging signs that the spring soft patch in factory activity is over,” said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley in New York.

In a separate report, the New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State general business conditions index slipped to 6.29 in September from 8.24 last month. A reading above zero indicates expansion.

Economists cautioned against reading too much in the step-back in activity, saying it was not a reliable indicator of national manufacturing.

Even as activity in the state slowed, businesses were confident about the future. The survey’s index of six-month business conditions approached a 1-1/2 year high in September, a good sign for business spending.

In addition, a gauge of new orders rose sharply after almost stalling in August and shipments surged to their highest level in more than a year.

ECONOMY EXPANDING STEADILY

The improvement in industrial output last month pointed to some underlying momentum in factory activity, which supports views of only a mild slowdown in economic growth this quarter.

That should keep the Federal Reserve on course to announce cuts to its monthly bond purchases when policymakers meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess the economy’s health.

“The economy continues to expand at enough of a pace where we are creating jobs and helping to bring down the unemployment rate,” said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. “I would not be surprised to see an announcement (on tapering) on Wednesday.”

Gains in manufacturing output last month were led by a 5.2 percent rebound in auto assemblies, which had slumped 4.5 percent in July. It was the largest increase since November and it took assemblies to an 11.25 million-unit rate, the highest since June 2007.

There were also increases in the production of consumer goods, high-tech equipment, machinery, aerospace and electrical equipment and appliances, among others.

Utilities output fell for a fifth consecutive month in August, a decline economists blame on a relatively cool summer and difficulties adjusting the series for seasonal fluctuations.

Mining production rose 0.3 percent last month.

The amount of industrial capacity in use edged up to 77.8 percent from 77.6 percent in July. Capacity use, which can indicate how much factories can ramp up production before economic growth becomes inflationary, is still 2.4 percentage points below its long-run average.

“There is no evidence of any inflation pressure at this point in the production cycle,” said Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Additional reporting by Steven C Johnson and Richard Leong in New York; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/09/16/business/16reuters-usa-economy-output.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Traders Book Day’s Gains, Blunting a Rally Set Off by Encouraging Economic Data

Stocks climbed on Monday, the first day of the third quarter, supported by signs of strength in the manufacturing and construction sectors. Even so, the major stock indexes pulled back from their session highs late in the day as investors sold some shares to book profits.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index closed up 0.54 percent after jumping as much as 1.27 percent earlier in the day. But the gains followed the S. P.’s rally of 12.6 percent in the first six months of 2013, which is the strongest first half of a year since 1998 for the benchmark.

“We’ve had a couple days of pretty good moves, and on Friday and today, you’ve had some intraday profit-taking,” said Richard Meckler, president of the hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management, in Jersey City, N.J.

Wall Street showed signs of stabilization last week after a sell-off that began because of concerns that the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying policy would end sooner than expected. June was the S. P. 500’s first negative month since October.

Among the S. P. 500’s 10 industrial sectors, the telecommunication and utilities sectors were the decliners of the day. The S. P.’s telecommunication sector index slipped 0.1 percent, and its utilities sector index lost 1.3 percent.

The day’s early rally was brought on by data from the Institute for Supply Management that showed that American manufacturing activity grew in June, rebounding from an unexpected contraction in May.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.36 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 14,974.96. The S. P. 500 advanced 8.68 points, or 0.54 percent, to finish at 1,614.96. The Nasdaq composite index gained 31.24 points, or 0.92 percent, to end at 3,434.49.

While fears about the Fed’s early exit from its stimulus efforts have calmed for now, analysts said the transition to a no-stimulus environment could cause further volatility.

“I still believe the market is trying to figure out how to price in slightly higher interest rates, even if rate increases from the Federal Reserve are still at least a year away,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research in Austin, Tex.

In government bonds, the benchmark 10-year Treasury note increased 3/32 to 93 22/32, sending the yield down to 2.48 percent, from 2.49 percent late Friday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Economix Blog: Manufacturing Still Looks O.K.

FLOYD NORRIS

FLOYD NORRIS

Notions on high and low finance.

Manufacturing jobs fell in May for the third-consecutive month, the Labor Department reports. But the numbers are small — 8,000 in May and a total of 21,000 for the three months.

Such small changes — there are nearly 12 million manufacturing jobs in the economy — are well within the margin of error of the survey. The growth in manufacturing since the bottom of the cycle may be stalling, but it has not reversed.

On an annual basis, the Labor Department says that there are 41,000 more manufacturing jobs than there were a year ago. May is the 32nd consecutive month in which manufacturing employment was up on a year-over-year basis. The last time there was a streak that long, Jimmy Carter was the president, and it lasted for 46 months, through November 1979.

Another cautiously positive sign on employment is that the Institute for Supply Management survey of manufacturers continues to indicate that more companies are increasing employment than are reducing it. The May I.S.M. numbers provided a jolt last week because the overall index came in at 49, indicating that a plurality of companies said business dipped in May. But that same survey showed employment rising — as it has done for 44 consecutive months, ever since October 2009. The Labor Department figures hit bottom a few months later.

The I.S.M. survey, which goes back to 1948, has never shown employment expanding for so many consecutive months. The longest string before now was 36 months, ending in December 1966.

The economy has added 507,000 manufacturing jobs since February 2010. Why don’t we feel better? That gain has been more than offset by the performance of the weakest sector in the economy — government. Over the same period, state and local governments have cut employment by 499,000, and the federal government has shed another 123,000.

Article source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/manufacturing-still-looks-o-k/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wall Street Tries to Rebound

Stocks were mostly lower in choppy trade on Monday as the latest data on manufacturing continued to paint a mixed picture on the strength of the economy.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index lost 0.1 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average was 0.4 percent higher and the Nasdaq composite fell 0.6 percent.

The S.P. 500 fluctuated between losses and gains but the Dow managed to post a slight gain, helped by a jump in Merck Company.

“We are at all-time highs and the data is not supporting the all-time highs. There is a realization that unless things start to turn around we could be in for a little bit of a correction,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York.

A measure of manufacturing activity in the United States contracted in May for the first time in six months, as new orders slipped and there was less demand for exports. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity fell to 49 points in May from 50.7 in April, short of expectations for 50.7. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector.

In a week that will feature the release of several significant reports on the economy, the most important will be the Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls report for May, scheduled for Friday. A survey of analysts by Reuters shows an expected 170,000 jobs added, slightly higher than the 165,000 in April.

The Fed’s so-called Beige Book survey of regional conditions is to be released on Wednesday.

Trading has been volatile for the past week, with intraday swings of 1 percent up or down on concerns that the Fed may reduce its monetary stimulus earlier than expected. On Friday, Wall Street dived at the end of the session, finishing more than 1 percent lower.

A popular options gauge that measures the level of anxiety in the market also showed a jump. The CBOE Volatility index, or VIX, was up more than 2 percent at 16.64.

In company news, Merck shares rose 4 percent after the company’s drug designed to unmask tumor cells and mobilize the immune system into fighting cancer helped shrink tumors in 38 percent of patients with advanced melanoma in an early-stage study.

But F5 Networks, a network gear maker, fell more than 6.7 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the company to equal weight from overweight.

Markets in Asia and Europe were rattled on Monday by data showing that China’s economy lost some steam last month, with factory activity shrinking for the first time in seven months and cooler growth in services.

European markets, however, erased much of their losses through the day, helped by gains in mining companies.

“The overall theme for the coming weeks is going to be a very volatile trading environment and you are going to have the U.S. and Japan being a significant driver to what is happening in Europe,” said a Rabobank strategist, Lyn Graham-Taylor.

A mixed reading in Chinese data kept intact worries about its growth momentum and weighed on oil as Brent crude slipped to $100 a barrel for the first time in a month, though the figures were not bad enough to trigger active selling in other growth-sensitive commodity or currency markets.

In the debt market, German bond futures had a steady start to the week, while there was more selling of euro zone periphery debt amid signs its 10-month rally might be drawing to a close.

Speaking in China, the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said the bank’s yet-to-be-tested bond buying program was “designed to keep government bond yields just below ‘panic’ levels,” not to help government solvency, and that the bank would not intervene if spreads were “fundamentally justified.”

The dollar index, measured against a basket of six major currencies, dropped 0.9 percent. That weakness, and a growing view that the E.C.B. was unlikely to cut interest rates again this week, pushed the euro up 1.9 percent, to $1.3096.

The broadly bearish sentiment in Asia took a toll on Japan’s Nikkei stock average again, as it slid 3 percent to a six-week low.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Major Indexes Decline as Growth in Manufacturing Slows

The stock market got off to a slow start in April, edging lower on Monday after a week when the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index eclipsed its nominal high.

The main catalyst was slowing growth in manufacturing last month. The decline in the Institute for Supply Management’s benchmark manufacturing index for March was worse than economists had forecast. Stocks started falling shortly after the report was released at 10 a.m. and stayed lower the rest of the day.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 5.69 points, or 0.04 percent, at 14,572.85. The S. P. 500 dropped 7.02 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,562.17.

Industrial companies fell 1 percent, the most in the S. P. 500. Caterpillar, which makes construction and mining equipment, declined $1.33, or 1.5 percent, to $85.64, and 3M, which makes Post-it notes, industrial products and construction materials, fell 66 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $105.65.

Investors have raised their expectations for the American economy as the market has climbed this year, said Joe Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade. The Dow is up 11.2 percent in 2013; the S. P., 9.5 percent.

“The numbers have to be outstanding in order to drive the market higher,” Mr. Kinahan said. “It’s a different mind-set when we’re at these levels.”

The S. P. 500 ended the first quarter at a high of 1,569.19, surpassing its previous record close of 1,565.15 on Oct. 9, 2007. The index has recaptured all of its losses from the financial crisis and recession. The Dow broke its high, also set in 2007, on March 5.

The market has risen this year because of optimism that housing is recovering and that employers are starting to hire again. Strong company earnings and continuing stimulus from the Federal Reserve have also increased demand for stocks.

Small stocks fared worse than large ones Monday. The Russell 2000 index, a benchmark of small-company stocks, fell 1.3 percent to 938.78, paring its gain for the year to 10.5 percent. It was the index’s biggest decline in more than a month. The Nasdaq composite index fell 28.35 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,239.17.

April is historically the second-strongest month for stocks, behind December, Deutsche Bank analysts said in a report released Monday. The S. P. 500 has gained an average of 1.4 percent in April, based on returns since 1960.

The last meaningful setback for stocks started before the elections last November. The market slid 6 percent from Oct. 1 through Nov. 15 before the vote and immediately afterward over concerns that Congress and the administration would be unable to enact measures to continue economic growth.

Evidence that growth was continuing, despite political discord in Washington, has kept stocks on an upward trajectory since then, leaving investors waiting for dips to add to their holdings.

”I’d love to have some sort of a pullback here because I’d think it’s an opportunity,” said Scott Wren, an equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors. “But it doesn’t feel like we’re going to have one in the near term.”

Among the stocks on the move, Tesla Motors, the electric car company, rose $6.04, or 16 percent, to $43.93 after it said Sunday night that first-quarter sales have exceeded 4,750 Model S sedans, above its previous forecast of 4,500.

DFC Global, a finance company that lends to consumers who lack bank accounts, fell $3.60, or 22 percent, to $13.04 after slashing its earnings estimate for its fiscal year because of loan defaults in its business in Britain.

American Greetings rose $1.95, or 12 percent, to $18.05 after the company agreed to be taken private for about $602 million by a group led by some of its top executives.

In the bond market, interest rates eased slightly. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note rose
5/32, to 101 16/32, while its yield slipped to 1.84 percent, from 1.85 percent late Thursday. (The bond and stock markets were closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.)

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 1, 2013

An earlier version of this article, and its capsule summary, misstated the day when the Standard Poor’s 500-share index reached a new closing high. The high was reached last Thursday, not Friday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/business/economy/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Orders for Durable Goods Jump

WASHINGTON — Demand for long-lasting manufactured goods surged 5.7 percent in February as orders for transportation equipment rebounded strongly, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The rise in durable goods orders, which range from toasters to aircraft, reversed January’s 3.8 percent plunge and suggested factory activity continued to expand at a moderate pace. Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders to rise 3.8 percent after a previously reported 4.9 percent fall in January.

Excluding transportation, orders slipped 0.5 percent after increasing 2.9 percent in January.

But the government also said nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, fell 2.7 percent, the largest decline since July; economists had expected a 1.2 percent drop. Orders for the so-called core capital goods had jumped 6.7 percent in January.

However, core capital goods shipments, used to calculate equipment and software spending in the gross domestic product report, increased 1.9 percent. That followed a 0.7 percent fall in January and suggested that business spending would again contribute to growth this quarter.

Though the report was mixed, it was in line with other data, including industrial production and the Institute for Supply Management’s survey of national factory activity, that have shown a steady growth pace in manufacturing.

Overall orders for durable goods were buoyed by a 21.7 percent jump transportation equipment as demand for civilian aircraft surged 95.3 percent. Motor vehicle orders increased 3.8 percent. Defense aircraft orders rose 7.6 percent.

In a separate report, a closely watched survey showed that single-family home prices rose slightly in January.

The Standard Poor’s Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.1 percent from December. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the rise was 1 percent, topping expectations for 0.9 percent. Prices have been gaining since February 2012.

Prices in the 20 cities climbed 8.1 percent from January 2012, unadjusted. It was the biggest yearly increase since June 2006.

Another report said consumer confidence tumbled in March as Americans turned more pessimistic about economic prospects in the short term.

The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes fell to 59.7 from a downwardly revised 68 in February. The figure fell short of economists’ expectations of 68. February was originally reported as 69.6.

Those expecting business conditions to get better over the next six months decreased to 14.4 percent from 18 percent, and those expecting conditions to get worse rose to 18.3 percent from 16.6 percent.

“The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and, as a result, consumers are less confident,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.

The $85 billion in automatic government spending cuts known as the sequester was triggered at the beginning of the month when politicians failed to come to an agreement on a new deal.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/business/economy/orders-for-durable-goods-jump.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Weekly Claims for Jobless Benefits Decline

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, driving down the four-week average to its lowest level in five years, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was a positive sign ahead of Friday’s report on February job growth.

Applications for benefits fell 7,000 in the week ended March 2, the government said. That was near a five-year low reached in January. And the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped 7,000 to 348,750, the lowest since March 2008, just a few months into the recession.

Weekly applications are a proxy for layoffs. When they fall, it suggests that companies are shedding fewer jobs and that more hiring may follow.

The decline adds to other evidence that hiring may have been better last month than had economists forecast. Economists project the unemployment rate to fall to 7.8 percent from 7.9 percent.

The economy generated an average of 200,000 jobs a month from November through January. That was up from about 150,000 in the previous three months. In January, 157,000 were added.

The payroll services provider A.D.P. said Wednesday that businesses added 198,000 jobs in February, above most analysts’ expectations. And January’s hiring was revised higher by 23,000 to 215,000.

Services firms, including retailers, restaurants and construction companies, added jobs at a healthy clip, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly survey. An index of hiring by service companies slipped but remained near January’s seven-year high.

The I.S.M.’s manufacturing survey found that factories also added workers in February, too, though at a slower pace than the previous month.

The number of people receiving unemployment aid fell to 5.4 million in the week ended Feb. 16, the latest data available. That was a drop of 362,000 from the previous week. Some of the decline is probably because people found work, but some may be because many have used up all the benefits available.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/business/economy/weekly-claims-for-jobless-benefits-decline.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Jobless Claims Rise Slightly For the Week

Meanwhile, an index of signed contracts for home purchases in November rose 7.3 percent, to 100.1 points, the highest level in a year and a half, according to a report Thursday from the National Association of Realtors.

A reading of 100 points is considered healthy, but more buyers are canceling their contracts at the last minute, making that benchmark less reliable.

And separately, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago reported Thursday that its business barometer was nearly the same in December, at 62.5, as the seven-month high of 62.6 it hit in November. The report said prices paid rebounded and order backlogs expanded. A reading of above 50 indicates that the economy is growing, while under 50 is a sign that it is contracting.

Weekly applications for jobless benefits increased by 15,000, to a seasonally adjusted 381,000, after three weeks of declines, the Labor Department said.

Still, the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped for the fourth consecutive week, to 375,000. That is the lowest level since June 2008.

Applications generally need to fall consistently below 375,000 to signal that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

While layoffs have fallen sharply since the recession ended, many companies have been slow to add jobs. Employers have added an average of 143,000 net jobs a month from September through November, almost double the average for the previous three months.

Next year is expected to be even better. A survey of 36 economists by The Associated Press this month found that they predicted the economy would generate an average of about 175,000 jobs a month in 2012.

More small businesses plan to hire than at any time in three years, a trade group said this month. And a separate survey found that more companies planned to add workers in the first quarter of next year than at any time since 2008.

In November, the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent from 9 percent. About half of that decline was the result of many unemployed giving up their search for work.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=0cbcf1e578b78adac997fd14e7796d95

Production Slowed At Factories In October

But companies ordered more goods, factories slashed their stockpiles and auto sales rose. Those trends suggest manufacturing activity could rebound in the coming months.

The data, which also showed a slight uptick in construction spending in September, points to an economy that is growing but remains too sluggish to lower the unemployment rate, which has been stuck at 9.1 percent for three consecutive months.

The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its manufacturing index dropped to 50.8, down from 51.6 in September. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Measures of production and new export orders fell. A gauge of employment dipped but remained strong enough to signal that factories were adding workers.

“Over all, economic conditions seem just about strong enough to avoid a recession, but not strong enough to generate any meaningful growth,” said Paul Dales, senior United States economist at Capital Economics.

Separately, the Commerce Department said builders spent slightly more in September on projects, the second consecutive monthly increase. A gain in spending on home construction offset declines in government projects. Still, the annual rate of spending is approximately half the $1.5 trillion that economists consider healthy.

A report in China showed that manufacturing grew at the slowest pace in nearly three years in October, partly because of weak export orders.

“Manufacturing is feeling a chill wind from a generally weaker global economic environment, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief United States economist at MFR Inc.

Factories were among the first businesses to start growing after the recession officially ended in June 2009. The manufacturing sector has grown for 27 straight months, according to the index.

Despite slower growth in American manufacturing, economists were encouraged by details in the I.S.M. report, released by a trade group of purchasing managers.

An index measuring new orders rose to 52.4, the first time it has topped 50 in four months and the highest reading in six months.

Manufacturers also said their stockpiles fell sharply. That means that factories will have to increase output to meet any increase in demand.

And the prices that manufacturers paid for raw materials fell sharply, indicating that inflation pressures are dissipating. The prices index plummeted from 56 to 41, the lowest point since April 2009.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c3858a4f5f057b60a088bb5ca5f99bb5

Service Sector Grew in August

The Institute for Supply Management, a private trade group, said Tuesday that its index for service companies rose to 53.3 in August from 52.7 in July. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The service sector includes businesses like restaurants, hotels, health care companies and financial service companies. It has grown in all but one month over the last two years. The index reached a five-year high of 59.7 in February.

Still, the rate of growth among service businesses has declined in four of the last six months. High gas prices and scant wage gains have left consumers with less money to spend on services.

The private trade group said its gauge of hiring for service companies fell last month to an 11-month low. That reflected Friday’s grim government report that showed that the economy added no net jobs in August.

“While the modest August bounce in the I.S.M. index for services is good news, it does not change the overall picture of an economy that is slowly unwinding and losing momentum,” said Brian A. Bethune, an economics professor at Amherst College.

Retail and wholesale trade, transportation services and hotels all showed strength in August, according to the report. Educational service companies, recreation and entertainment firms, and health care, finance and insurance businesses all reported declines.

Last week, I.S.M. said its manufacturing index fell in August to 50.6, barely above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from growth.

The nation’s economy expanded in the first six months of the year at an annual rate of just 0.7 percent — the slowest growth since the recession officially ended two years ago.

Since then, consumer and business confidence have been hurt by a spate of bad economic news: lawmakers in Washington fought over raising the federal borrowing limit, Standard Poor’s downgraded its rating on long-term United States debt, the debt crisis in Europe worsened and the stock market tumbled in late July and early August. The Dow is nearly 14 percent lower than its close on July 21.

President Obama will offer a plan to increase job growth during an address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday.

Still, the president is unlikely to win support for any stimulus spending from Congressional Republicans, who say the president’s economic policies have failed. They say they want further spending cuts and less government regulation.

The economy needs to add 250,000 jobs a month to make a major dent in the unemployment rate, which has been above 9 percent in all but two months since May 2009.

Many economists believe that the economy will grow only 2 percent in the second half of this year, far below the pace needed to generate significant job gains.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=952e9ce8c0e8812b0306cd327ba60b59