The ISM manufacturing and employment indexes showed decent growth in March, and the improving numbers are helping the market perk up this morning.
The manufacturing index rose to 53.4 from 52.4, a larger increase than expected. And the employment index jumped to 56.1 from 53.2. John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros of RDQ Economics said the index should reinforce investors’ optimism.
“Manufacturing activity in March expanded at a slightly faster pace than expected and somewhat faster than seen in February on strengthening growth in employment and production (which augur well for the payroll and industrial production data for the month).Â Despite this faster growth, customer inventories fell further below desired levels and order backlogs rose at a slightly faster rate than in February.Â Price pressures remain elevated but there was no worsening in the rate of input price gains compared to February.Â With manufacturing activity in China also rising at a faster-than-expected pace in March and with both domestic and export orders growing, we expect manufacturing to continue to expand at a solid pace in the second quarter.”
The S&P 500, which had dipped slightly before the 10 a.m. release, swung back into positive territory and is now trading about 0.3% higher. The Dow is flat.