Economic Report: Philly Fed manufacturing index shows signs of improvement in June

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The numbers: A gauge of manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic region showed conditions were improving, the Philadelphia Fed said Thursday.

The regional Fed’s business conditions index rose to 27.5 in June from negative 43.1 in the prior month. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected a negative 20 reading.

What happened: The headline index is based on a single stand alone question about business conditions unlike the national ISM manufacturing index which is a composite based on components.

The details of the report were also positive.

The barometer on new orders increased to 16.7 in June from a reading of negative 25.7. The shipments index rose to 25.3 from negative 30.3 in May.

The measure on six-month business outlook rose to 66.3 in June from 49.7 in the prior month.

Big picture: U.S. manufacturing was hit hard by the lock-downs imposed to combat the coronavirus but activity is beginning to stir with the gradual reopening of the economy. The Federal Reserve’s national industrial output measure rose 1.4% in May and economists expect another increase in June.

Last week, a similar survey conducted by the New York Fed showed that conditions stabilized, with sentiment rising sharply by 48 points to negative 2 in June.

Investors look at the two reports mainly to get a sense of the U.S. national ISM index, which improved a bit to 43.1 in May from 41.5 in the prior month. The data will be released on July 1.

Market reaction: U.S. stock futures pointed to muted moves on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.64% fell 170 points in Wednesday’s trading.

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