All the major U.S. stock indexes fell today as the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index for Manufacturing disappointed by sinking further into contraction territory. At 47.8 for September, the index hit a 10-year low.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected the the index would tick up from its 49.1 reading in August to edge into expansion territory at 50.2. (In the index anything below 50 indicates contraction. Anything above 50 signals an expansion.)
This miss is a negative way to begin a week that includes the Purchasing Managers Index for the much larger services sector on Thursday and then the September jobs report on Friday.
The manufacturing report was clearly driven by the U.S.-China trade war and a slowing global economy. The New Exports Orders sub-index dropped to 41.0 from an already very negative 43.3 in August. The Backlog of Orders sub-index fell to 45.1 from 46.3 in August.
The implications for the general U.S. economy are rather gloomy. According to the ISM, the past relationship between the Purchasing Managers Index and U.S. GDP points to what would be a disappointing 1.5% growth rate in real GDP on an annualized basis. That would be a big step down from current expectations and from second quarter GDP growth at 2.0% and from the first quarter’s 3.1% annual growth rate. In the first half of 2019 the U.S. economy grew fat a 2.6% rate.
As of 2:30 p.m. New York time today the Standard & Poor’s 500 was down 0.99% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower by 1.06%. The NASDAQ Composite Index had dropped 0.82% and the Russell 2000 small cap index had lost 1.79%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) had retreated 0.57%.
U.S. crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 0.70% to $53.69 a barrel. International benchmark Brent crud was down 0.46% to $58.98 a barrel.
Gold was up 0.93% to $1486.60 an ounce. Silver continued to outpace gold, climbing 1.75% to $17.30 an ounce.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury retreated another 3 basis points to 1.64%. The yield on the 2-year Treasury kept pace by dropping to 1.55%. The U.S. dollar fell with the Dollar Spot Index off 0.23%.