US manufacturing output declines for a second month
US (DIA) manufacturing production fell 0.4% in February according to Federal Reserve data, marking the second straight month of output contraction. A decline in motor vehicle, machinery, and furniture output was the main contributor to February’s slowdown. Manufacturing production fell 0.5% (revised upward from -0.9%) in January.
Slowing global growth and trade tensions
Slowing global growth and US-China trade tensions seem to be catching up to US fundamentals. China’s industrial data, released yesterday, showed that production grew 5.3% year-over-year in January and February combined, a 17-year low. To learn more, read China Slowdown Deepens: Industrial Output at 17-Year. China (FXI), however, is not alone in facing trade woes. US companies Apple (AAPL) and NVIDIA (NVDA) have warned that China’s slowdown is hurting their earnings, and Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), Alphabet (GOOG), and Facebook (FB) have been impacted by the trade issues between the world’s two largest economies.
Other soft data points
According to CNBC, economists were expecting US (SPY) manufacturing production to rise 0.3% last month. Also, the manufacturing sector’s capacity utilization fell to 75.4% from 75.8% in January, and sales of new US single-family homes fell more than expected. The Empire State Manufacturing Index shows that general business conditions have dropped to 3.7 this month, the lowest since May 2017.