Empire State Manufacturing Index Signals a Strengthening Industrial Sector
The NY Empire State Manufacturing Survey is a monthly survey of New York-area manufacturers. Firms report on how business conditions have changed for a number of indicators, including production, new orders, employment, prices and company outlook.
The Index is a regional survey, but its key indexes are highly correlated with state-level measures of business activity and employment.
According to the Empire Manufacturing Index, general business activity in May increased to 17.09 from 6.56 in April. This is better than the expected estimate of 9.00. This is essentially bullish for the manufacturing sector and positive or general economic growth in the United States.
According to the report, the May Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that manufacturing activity expanded in New York State at a moderate pace. The general business conditions index rose eleven points to 17.1. The new orders index inched up to 8.3, and the shipments index shot up eighteen points to 24.1.
The indexes for both prices paid and prices received were positive but lower in May, indicating that the pace of price increases slowed. Employment index readings remained relatively healthy, suggesting that employment levels and hours worked continued to expand. Future indexes were noticeably lower than last month, indicating a positive but somewhat less optimistic view of the six-month outlook.
Future indexes were positive, but were generally lower, suggesting that the level of optimism about the six-month outlook was not quite as high as it has been in recent months. The future general business conditions index fell fourteen points to 29.3. The future new orders index fell sixteen points to 30.1, and the future shipments index declined nineteen points to 25.3.
The future prices paid index climbed seven points to 57.8, suggesting that input prices are expected to accelerate in the coming months, while the future prices received index held steady at 22.9. Future employment indexes were positive but lower in May. The capital expenditures index fell twelve points to 19.3, and the technology spending index fell six points to 12.1.
Traders who believe that the Empire State Manufacturing Index is a leading indicator for the US economy, you might want to consider the following trades:
- Long general industrial companies like Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW) or Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) as these companies will benefit from increasing industrial production.
- Also, long Consumer Discretionary companies like Target (NYSE: TGT) or the Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSE: XLY)
Traders who do not believe that the Empire State Manufacturing Index is a leading indicator for the US economy, you may consider alternative positions:
- Long Consumer Staple companies like Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and Colgate (NYSE: CL) because even if the economy is struggling, people still need to buy staple products like shampoo and toothpaste.
- Also, short big-ticket appliance makers like Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR) if the manufacturing trend is worse-than-expected.
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