Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Purchasing Managers Indexes Mostly Upbeat (excerpt)

Also providing a bit of lift to stocks yesterday morning was Markit’s latest batch of flash M-PMIs. The US manufacturing index edged down from 57.1 during February to 55.5 during March, but remained solidly above 50.0. Both the output and orders component indexes remained strong at 57.5 and 58.0.

Markit also noted: “Meanwhile, there were signs in March that supply chains started to recover from adverse weather disruptions and subsequent bottlenecks earlier in the year. This was highlighted by the seasonally adjusted suppliers’ delivery times index rising sharply over the month to its highest level since June 2013. Although the index remained below the neutral 50.0 threshold, the month-on-month index rise was the greatest since the survey began in May 2007.”

Markit also found ongoing strength in the Eurozone’s manufacturing sector. Although the area’s M-PMI edged down to 53.0 from 53.2, the output component upticked from 55.3 to 55.4. Deflation remains a potential problem: “Input costs showed the smallest monthly rise for nine months, while prices charged by manufacturing and service providers fell on average to the greatest extent since last July. Lower prices were often attributed simply to the need to compete to win business.”

Stocks also rose yesterday morning despite continued weakness in China’s flash M-PMI. It fell from 48.5 in February to 48.1 in March, an eight-month low. It has declined for the past five months from a recent peak of 50.9 during October. The output component was even weaker, falling from 48.8 last month to 47.3 this month. That’s an 18-month low. Apparently, investors believe that bad news is good news in China since the government is likely to scramble to stimulate more growth.

Today's Morning Briefing: No Place Like Home. (1) The Russians are coming, maybe. (2) El-Erian warns about geopolitical risks. (3) Hilsenrath offers calming spin on Yellenomics. (4) Lots of flashy M-PMIs. (5) Putting a positive spin on China’s weakening M-PMI. (6) Round 2 for Abenomics? (7) Has the good news been discounted in the Eurozone? (8) China has an IT bubble. (9) Japan’s stock sectors waiting for the next leg up, or down. (10) US S&P 500/400/600 forward earnings are global standouts. (More for subscribers.)

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