Futures gap down as the Empire manufacturing index creeps ever closer to 0, coming in at 4.1, from 7.1 prior: this was the lowest since July 2009. Expectations of 8.0 were missed for the second time in a row. Optimism continues to deteriorate. From the report: The Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions held relatively steady in New York’s manufacturing sector in September. The general business conditions index remained positive, although it slipped 3 points to 4.1. The new orders and shipments indexes were both up moderately for the month, at levels signaling stable activity. The prices paid index was positive and little changed from last month, while the prices received index edged up to just above zero. Employment indexes were positive, suggesting that employment levels and the average workweek continued to expand over the month. The degree of optimism about the six-month outlook continued to deteriorate, with the future general business conditions index hitting its lowest level since early 2009.