Manufacturing Makes Fast Moves for February

Manufacturing growth is flying for February, according to two reports released today.

Both the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and Markit issued manufacturing index readings for the just-ended month. Each is based on surveys with purchasing managers, allowing analysts and investors a sneak peek into the health of the manufacturing sector.

The latest ISM index registered 53.2%, after January's reading clocked in at 51.3%. Market analysts had expected a milder increase to 51.9%.

Markit's index for February added on 3.4 percentage points to reach 57.1. 

A reading above 50% on either indicator denotes expansion for the manufacturing economy, while below 50% indicates that the sector is generally contracting.

On a component-by-component basis, ISM's new orders grew steadily stronger, while inventories reversed direction from red to head back into growth territory. The biggest draw on ISM's report was production, down 6.6 points to a contracting 48.2 points for February. 

Markit's survey proved more positive all around. Output, new orders, new export orders, employment, work backlogs, and inventories components all recorded gains for February.

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