That the US manufacturing sector has hardly performed in line with a record stock market is not news to anyone, and was confirmed most recently when the February CapEx number was revealed (i.e., Durable Goods non-defense ex aircraft) and missed expectations. Today, we closed to page on February production with the monthly Factory Orders, which printed just better than expected at the headline level or 3.0% vs expectations of a 2.9% number. However, just like with the Durable Goods data, this was entirely driven by the transportation industry, i.e., Boeing airplanes. Stripping transports, the increase from January to February was a tiny 0.3%, far below the 2.0% sequential increase in the prior month, as the entire delta in the headline increase from $477.5 billion to $492 billion was purely as a result of transports. Finally, when looked at correct on a Year over Year basis, this is how Factory Orders (headline and ex-trans) look. Surely this chart of economic activity should explains record stock prices, as sadly no other one can.
Source: Census Bureau