The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index decreased to 49.5 last month from 51.7 in October. This is the lowest reading since July 2009 and quite a surprise to most experts.
Economists projected the index would fall a bit to 51.4, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. And as you know, a reading of 50 marks the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
Estimates for the ISM index from the 83 economists surveyed ranged from 49 to 53.5. The gauge averaged 55.2 in 2011 and 57.3 a year earlier.
Here's more detailed breakdown from Bloomberg.com...
"The ISM’s index of U.S. new orders dropped to a three-month low of 50.3 in November from 54.2. The production increased to 53.7 last month from 52.4 in October. The gauge of export orders dropped to 47 from 48. The employment index decreased to 48.4, the lowest since September 2009, from 52.1 the prior month."
BUT, hold your finger off that sell button just yet...
In a completely opposite picture, the PMI Mfg Index surprised to the upside. From Bloomberg...
"November was a solid month for the nation's manufacturers based on the PMI index from Markit Economics which shows a final reading of 52.8, up four tenths from the flash reading and up a sharp 1.8 points from October. Very encouraging is a good description for the details which show accelerating monthly growth for new orders and for output. New exports orders show their first monthly increase since May. Backlog orders are in the plus column for the first since August. Employment growth is steady and respectable. In a mixed signal, inventories continue to move lower in what hints that businesses may have doubts over the strength of future demand."
What does this mixed bag all mean?
Is it more about Super Storm Sandy, or more about business caution as we speed toward the Congressional Canyon?
Are the economy and the markets about to pull a Wile E. Coyote?