Cold Weather Cools Services Sector

Businesses still have great expectations for 2014.

Feb 24, 2014 at 5:03PM

The Markit Flash U.S. Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell 7.1%, to 52.7, for February, according to a Markit report (link opens as PDF) released today.

The "flash" estimate is typically based on approximately 85% to 90% of total PMI survey responses each month, and is designed to provide an accurate advance indication of the final PMI data. An above-50 reading denotes general growth, while below 50 signals contraction.

According to Markit, much of this month's dip came from cold weather, while future indicators point to sunny sales ahead. The new business component shaved off just 0.2 points to stay strong at 56.2, while outstanding business headed into growth territory, up 2.7 point,s to 52.0. Employment dipped 2.1 points, but is still expanding at 54.1.

"The unusually severe winter weather undoubtedly looks to have taken its toll on the economy in the first quarter," said Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson in a statement today. "Over the first two months of the year, the manufacturing and services PMI surveys are signaling an annualized growth rate of just 1.6%, which represents a halving of growth compared to the 3.2% pace seen in the fourth quarter."

Looking ahead, Williamson noted that more than 50% of firms surveyed expect business to grow this year, with just 3% predicting a decline.

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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