Manufacturing ISM Tumbles, Biggest Miss In 13 Months

Typically, when the ISM-leading Chicago PMI has a horrible print as it did last week, the subsequent ISM response in a "baffle with BS" centrally planned regime is one of a stunning beat just to make sure all vacuum tubes are kept on their binary toes, and the bad news is good news, good news is better news meme continues propagating. Not this time: moments ago, the March ISM printed at 51.3, the biggest miss to expectations (of 54.0) in 13 months, in fact below the lowest estimate, driven by a collapse in New Orders which tumbled from 57.8 to 51.4, as the rapid deceleration in the US economy is confirmed in virtually every recent metric. The good news, and what will be used to spin the market back into green following its epic 0.2% selloff on the news, is that the Employment Index rose from 52.6 to 54.2, the highest since June 2012. Elsewhere, the 1.2% increase in construction spending came in better than estimated... on a seasonally adjusted basis. Unadjusted it had its biggest drop since July 2011 but who cares: we all live in a seasonally-adjusted "reality" in which only the daily record S&P prints matter. And now, with yet another economic miss in tow, we resume your regularly scheduled no-volume Federal Reserve mandated "stock market" levitation.

Per the release:

 "The PMI™ registered 51.3 percent, a decrease of 2.9 percentage points from February's reading of 54.2 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the fourth consecutive month, but at a slower rate. Both the New Orders and Production Indexes reflected growth in March compared to February, albeit at slower rates, registering 51.4 and 52.2 percent, respectively. The Employment Index registered 54.2, an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared to February's reading of 52.6 percent. The Prices Index decreased 7 percentage points to 54.5, and the list of commodities up in price reflected far fewer items than in February. In addition, the Backlog of Orders, Exports and Imports Indexes all grew in March."

From the respondents:

  • "Beginning to feel the seasonal upswing in business — energy and resin remain a concern." (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
  • "Medical reimbursements from insurance companies, particularly Medicare, are slowing." (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
  • "While the second half of 2013 looks promising, the first half is a mixed bag." (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • "Things seem slightly better than last year, but still not great." (Printing & Related Support Activities)
  • "Automotive is still very strong." (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • "Post-election in the U.S. — companies within the oil and gas sector are still waiting for signs of some regulatory certainty or stability." (Petroleum & Coal Products)
  • "Reduced government spending in the defense sector lowers business output." (Transportation Equipment)
  • "Business is continuing to be brisk." (Furniture & Related Products)
  • "Market continues to be strong, and our production is exceeding plans at this time." (Wood Products)
  • "Sales are low, even adjusted for seasonal variation." (Chemical Products)

Full release here