FXstreet.com (San Francisco) - The ISM manufacturing index came at 51.3 in March, well below expectations of 54.1 and a 2.9 points below February figure of 54.2. Equities reacted down and EUR/USD trades higher on the data as the ISM data seems disappointing figures but Miller Tabak's Chief Economic Strategist Andrew Wilkinson believes the PMI index is less ugly than it actually looks.

Wilkinson states that "manufacturing expansion continued in March" as the index is above the 50.0 mark, as well as the important "employment gauge resumed its advance." He also points that "of 18 manufacturing industries, 14 reported growth in March."

"The production index softened to its lowest level since September while new orders expanded at the slackest pace since December, as was the case with the headline PMI reading," adds Wilkinson. "Nevertheless, the ongoing expansion in the reading of backlog orders refutes the notion that beyond the onset of spring, the economy is set to cool off as has been the case in recent years."

The prices component declined 7 points to 54.5 in March from 61.5 in February, "indicating a softening in inflationary pressures – not necessarily a bad thing at all," states Wilkinson.

In the same line, the employment sub-index rose to 54.2 in march from 52.6 in February. "That would also suggest that hiring is returning at a faster pace even as manufacturers report what ought to prove just a temporary lull in output."