MANUFACTURING SENTIMENT IS THE HIGHEST IN 20 YEARS!

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Equities slipped on disappointing auto sales. Negative political developments, which to this point have been largely disregarded, threaten to cloud the improving domestic and global outlook.

Speaking of improving economic environment, the ISM Manufacturing Index continued to expand in March at a robust pace. The diffusion index (the headline number) matched the median forecast, but was nominally lower than February’s statistics which were the highest since August 2014. Factory employment climbed to the highest reading since June 2011 and the prices paid index increased to the highest level since May 2011.

The highest order backlog and slowest delivery times for suppliers since 2014 help explain why manufacturers are reporting that they are adding workers to assembly lines.

Perhaps of even greater significance, the ISM measure of export orders climbed to the highest point since November 2013, underscoring the manufacturing optimism from Asia to Europe.

Recent Chinese government figures showed that the factory purchasing manager index climbed to the highest point since April 2012. Euro manufacturing data was the strongest in 71 months.

It is against this backdrop why a survey of the National Association of Manufactures is showing the greatest optimism in 20 years.

This is yet another data point illustrating the disconnect between voter approval levels and sentiment ratings of the President. President Obama was elected/reelected on “Hope and Change,” but brought little “Hope” and perhaps unwelcomed or economic nonproductive change.

President Trump does not share President Obama’s approval ratings, but every sentiment indicator does suggest he is the “Hope and Change” president.

Earning season is quickly approaching. I am certain results will again exceed expectations thus suggesting this quarterly event may be losing some of its significance. The question at hand is how do earnings exceed? Such will be a determinate factor for the immediate direction of equity markets.

Wow! Life is stranger than fiction.

Last night the foreign markets were mixed. London was up 0.43%, Paris was up 0.04% and Frankfurt was down 0.07%. China was up 0.38%, Japan was down 0.91% and Hang Sang was up 0.56%.

The Dow should open quietly lower as equities have slipped to their 40 day moving average, a key technical level, awaiting more data to confirm momentum and progress of the Trump agenda. The 10-year is up 1/32 to yield 2.32%.


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