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The Richmond Fed makes it five for five, that is five regional Fed reports all showing negative headlines for October. The Richmond Fed index did improve, however, to minus 1 from September's minus 5. New orders came in at zero following the prior month's steep contraction of minus 12. But backlog orders, at minus 7, are down for a third month which is not a plus for future shipments or employment. Shipments in October fell to minus 4 from minus 3 which is also a third month of contraction. Hiring is still positive, unchanged at plus 3, but continued growth here is uncertain. Price data are mute with prices received showing slight contraction as they are in other reports. This morning's report on durable goods orders showed another month of broad weakness in September and this report, together with the other regional reports, point to another weak month for the factory sector in October.
Market Consensus Before Announcement
Richmond Fed's manufacturing index had held out as one of the strongest of the regional Fed surveys, but that was before September when it too dipped into the negative column at minus 5. Order readings were deeply negative in September with price readings, like in other reports, pointing south. The Econoday consensus is calling for minus 2 in October.
This survey provides a comprehensive set of indicators of business conditions within the fifth region's manufacturing sector. The survey provides participants' knowledge of recent changes in manufacturing activity as well as insights into expected developments in six months. The data are released the fourth Tuesday of each month. The headline index is the composite for current month activity. It is a weighted average of the shipments (33%), new orders (40%) and employment (27%) indexes. (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)
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 regional Fed surveys, 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. These surveys give 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.
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