The Institue for Supply Management's (ISM) Manufacturing PMI in March fell to 49.1 from 50.1 in February to reveal a contraction at a modest pace in the sector's economic activity. This reading came in better than the market expectation of 45.
Further details of the publication revealed that the New Orders Index slumped to 42.2 from 49.8 in February and missed the market expectation of 50.2 by a wide margin. Moreover, the Employment Index dropped to 43.8 from 46.9.
Commenting on the data, “comments from the panel were negative regarding the near-term outlook, with sentiment clearly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and energy market volatility," said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The PMI returned to contraction territory, and with a negative trajectory."
Despite the better-than-expected reading, major equity indexes in the US failed to stage a rebound. As of writing, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3.65% and 3.5%, respectively.
Meanwhile, the US Dollar Index continues to fluctuate in a relatively tight range above the 99.50 handle after the data.
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