The ISM manufacturing survey was about in line with expectations at a solid 60.4 vs the estimate of 60 and is up from 59.6 in March. It’s the first time above 60 since June ’04 but only measures the direction of change, not the degree. New Orders rose 4.2 pts to 65.7 but Backlogs fell .5 pt to 57.5. Production, which follows new orders, rose 5.8 pts to 66.9. Inventories fell back below 50 at 49.4 but after the 8 pt spike to 55.3 in March while Inventories at the customer level fell 6 pts to 33, just shy of the lowest since ’97 as lean remains the focus. The Employment component showed continued improvement, rising 3.4 pts to 58.5, the highest since Jan ’05. Exports fell .5 pt to a still strong 61. The ISM sums up the data with “overall, the recovery in manufacturing continues quite strong, and the signs are positive for continued growth” as 17 of the 18 industries surveyed reported growth. Net-net for the markets though is we’ve priced it in for now I believe.
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