The Empire State Manufacturing Index of General Business Conditions for April fell to 5.2 from 16.4 in March. It was the weakest reading since November.
A decline in the new orders component led the weakness in last month’s component series. It was the softest reading in three months. The unfilled orders and employee workweek readings also declined. Working the other way were the shipments, delivery times and inventory series. The employment index jumped to its highest level since March 2015. During the last ten years, there has been a 69% correlation between the employment index and the m/m change in factory sector payrolls.
The prices paid series also strengthened modestly m/m and remained up sharply versus its low in October 2015. An improved 36.5% of respondents reported paying higher prices, while an increased 3.6% reported them lower. The prices received index similarly rose to 12.4 and regained just part of its March decline.
(…) restaurant struggles continued in March as sales and traffic again declined year-over-year: same-store sales were down 1.1% while traffic dropped 3.4%. March results were disappointing for an industry desperately trying to reverse performance trends; with sales now negative in 11 out of the last 12 months, the longest stretch since the financial crisis. There was a modest improvement sequentially, however, and while still negative, sales improved by 2.5% points compared to February as traffic rose marginally by 1.6%. (…)
(…) The Chicago-based company, which emerged as the face of U.S. manufacturing under President Donald Trump, has been winnowing employment for more than a year as a record jetliner sales spree fades. Boeing trimmed the Washington workforce by 9 percent to 70,640 employees over the past year. The company’s total headcount has shrunk 7.6 percent to 146,962 since March 2016.
Total revenue for 2016 dipped 1.6 percent to $94.6 billion as Boeing slowed output of the 747 jumbo jetliner amid declining sales and said it would reduce the production rate of the 777 twin-aisle plane for a second time. As demand for new planes has waned amid record order backlogs and a surplus older models, Boeing has trimmed its overhead and worked to ratchet down supplier costs. (…)
China Market Opening ‘Slow and Faltering,’ U.S. Business Group Says China’s persisting restrictions on foreign investment while its companies freely do business abroad are fueling further frustration among U.S. firms, according to a report by an American business group.
An annual policy paper by the American Chamber of Commerce in China criticized the “obvious imbalance” between closed Chinese markets and more open ones in the U.S. and said that the situation isn’t likely to change soon.
The pace of market-opening restructuring has been “slow and faltering,” the 850-member business group said in the report released Tuesday. It cited a majority of respondents in a recent membership survey as reporting “little or no confidence” that Beijing would open up its markets more in the next three years. (…)
The Citi US Economic Surprise Index has been declining rapidly, with several reports missing economists’ forecasts lately. (The Daily Shot)
Investors Follow the Herd as 10 Big Stocks Power Market’s Gains Ten big stocks are exerting an unusually large influence on the S&P 500 in 2017, the latest sign that the herd instinct is alive and well on Wall Street.
Those 10 large stocks have powered nearly 53% of the S&P 500’s 4.7% advance this year, according to Fundstrat Global Advisors’ data through the middle of last week. During an average year, the 10 stocks with the greatest impact typically account for only 45% of the market’s price moves, according to analysis of data from AQR Capital Management.
Technology-oriented companies dominate the list: Apple AAPL 0.55% Inc., the world’s largest company by market capitalization, is up more than 22% this year through Monday. Social-media company Facebook Inc. FB 1.46% has risen nearly 23% while e-commerce powerhouse Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 1.96% has climbed 20%.
Combined, shares of these three companies account for almost one-third of the S&P 500’s 2017 advance through this past Wednesday. (…)
Some investors say that the popularity of low-cost index-tracking funds that assign greater heft to the market’s largest companies helped boost the most widely held stocks. Some $2.1 trillion in assets were directly linked to the S&P 500 at the end of 2015, according to the most recent data available from S&P Dow Jones Indices. (…)