This week the market got qualitative and quantitative signals that were decidedly mixed.
On Tuesday, the ISM U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index registered 47.8% for September, the lowest reading since June ‘09, and the second straight month of deceleration. A number below 50% suggests economic contraction. Economists all over Wall Street bemoaned tariffs for diminished activity, with one Deutsche Bank economist noting “the recession risk is real.” President Trump, of course, parried, saying that higher relative interest rates and the strong dollar are to blame.
Similarly, pundits dismissed this data’s importance, noting that the US economy is more services-based (70% of growth) than manufacturing-oriented. In addition, a competing survey from IHS Markit showed some positivity, reflecting that “though the sector remains in contraction, the index rose for the second straight month.” It concluded that the US, China and emerging markets are all simultaneously improving. Ah, qualitative reports. Insert grain of salt here. 😬
On Thursday, the ISM non-manufacturing index — a widely watched measurement of the services sector — came out and the numbers were 💩. Like weakest in 3 years 💩💩💩 .
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