If today’s national purchasing managers index (PMI) for March confirms the strength of the economy, the naysayers will remind us how warm the weather was last month. If it is weak, they will score some points.
They claim to have done so with all the downticks in the March readings of the regional business surveys conducted by the Fed districts. I track the average of the composite indexes for the Fed districts around Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, and Richmond, along with a comparable Chicago PMI. It declined from an 11-month high of 17.2 during February to 13.8 during March. The average new orders index for these six regions fell from 14.7 in February to 11.6 in March. Their average employment index fell from 14.5 to 12.2. All of those are relatively high readings, with all well exceeding zero.
TODAY’S MAJOR BULLET POINTS: (1) Let the games begin! (2) Is the US economy’s winning streak over? (3) Bernanke is the bull’s cheerleader. (4) Record bond calendar pumping up stocks. (5) The Persian Gulf games. (6) Chinese workers unchained to buy iPads. (7) Europeans fighting not to lose. (8) After great Q1, fight or flight in Q2? (9) Do the odds favor US economy? (10) The districts continue to perform well. (11) “The Hunger Games” (+ +). (More for subscribers.)