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Fixes the level of the ISM manufacturing index for January.
The numbers: American manufacturers say business picked up in the first month of 2019 after moderating sharply in December.
The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rebounded in January to 56.6% from 54.3% in the prior month. The index was 58.8 in November.
The latest reading, derived from a survey of executives, exceeded the MarketWatch forecast of 54.3%.
Readings over 50% indicate more companies are expanding instead of shrinking. Readings above 55% are seen as exceptional.
What happened: New orders picked up sharply in January after a decline in the prior month. Production and employment also increased. Prices contracted in the month.
Fourteen of the 18 U.S. manufacturing industries surveyed by ISM expanded in January. Only one industry— nonmetallic mineral products — reported contraction.
Tim Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing survey, told reporters the ISM factory index looks like it can stay in a range between 54% and 56% this year. While that’s down from the last year’s pace, it’s still quite positive, he added. The index hit 60.8 in August, the best reading since May 2004.
“We’re transitioning from very high level of expansion to expansion,” he said.
Big picture: The rebound in January removed some concern with the manufacturing sector. Economists were worried that foreign growth, the strong dollar
, and the government shutdown might weigh on manufacturing sentiment.
What they are saying: The rebound in the key new orders index “brings it back to a level that, if sustained, suggests that the recent weakness in capital goods orders will not worsen,” said Josh Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc.
Market reaction: Stocks
moved higher on Friday after the ISM index moved higher and in light of the strong January jobs report.
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