|General Business Conditions Index - Level||-1.0||-4.0 to 3.0||-4.5||-6.0|
Contraction is seeping into the Mid-Atlantic manufacturing sector. The Philly Fed's index for October, at minus 4.5, came in just below Econoday's low-end estimate. This is the second drop in a row but, more importantly, contraction is now appearing in many of the report's specific indexes including new orders which, at minus 10.6, fell 20.0 points from September. Unfilled orders, at minus 11.7, are extending their long contraction while shipments, at minus 6.1, are down 19.9 points from September. Employment, at minus 1.7, is now in contraction and down 11.9 points in the month. This report confirms the Empire State report released earlier this morning and points to accelerating declines for manufacturing, a sector that appears to be getting hit harder and harder by weak foreign markets.
Market Consensus Before Announcement
The Philadelphia Fed report fell sharply in September but the decline was not confirmed by sub indexes which came in mostly solid. But erosion for such readings as new orders or employment could raise new talk of manufacturing weakness.
The general conditions index from this business outlook survey is a diffusion index of manufacturing conditions within the Philadelphia Federal Reserve district. This survey, widely followed as an indicator of manufacturing sector trends, is correlated with the ISM manufacturing index and the index of industrial production.
Investors need to monitor the economy closely because it usually dictates how various types of investments will perform. By tracking economic data such as the Philly Fed survey, investors will know what the economic backdrop is for the various markets. The stock market likes to see healthy economic growth because that translates to higher corporate profits. The bond market prefers more moderate growth so that it won't lead to inflation. The Philly Fed survey gives a detailed look at the manufacturing sector, how busy it is and where things are headed. Since manufacturing is a major sector of the economy, this report has a big influence on market behavior. Some of the Philly Fed sub-indexes also provide insight on commodity prices and other clues on inflation. The bond market is highly sensitive to this report because it is released early in the month and is available before other important indicators.
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