US Manufacturing declines but momentum remains

U.S. factory activity weakened in November, but sustained gains in new orders and a rebound in exports suggest that the economy remains on a firm footing despite slowing global growth.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) stated its index of national factory activity fell to 58.7 last month as the pace of restocking slowed. The index had touched a 3 year high of 59 in October. Despite the decline, the reading is still comfortably above 50 which is the benchmark figure that indicates expansion in the nation’s manufacturing sector.

There had been concerns that weak global demand was damaging U.S. manufacturing after data last week showed a second straight month of declines in planned business spending on equipment in October.

U.S. stocks were trading lower on concerns about the global economy. Consumer stocks also were pressured due to disappointing in-store retail sales for the Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally a major shopping period.