Reply To: Traders Market Weekly: A Magical Green First Quarter for Stocks


The March ISM Manufacturing Index checked in at 50.3% (consensus 48.5%), up from 47.8% in February. That is the first reading above 50.0% since September 2022, which equates to a manufacturing sector operating in an expansion mode.

The key takeaway from the report is that it contained all the reasons why the Fed believes it can be patient before cutting rates: business activity is expanding, prices are sticking at higher levels, and employment conditions remain reasonably good.

Total construction spending decreased 0.3% month-over-month in February (consensus 0.6%) following an unrevised 0.2% decline in January. Total private construction was flat month-over-month while total public construction was down 1.2% month-over-month. On a year-over-year basis, total construction spending was up 10.7%.

The key takeaway from the report is that new single-family construction remains an important prop for overall construction spending, but the pickup there in February wasn’t enough to offset a decent-sized decline in nonresidential spending in both the private and public sectors.