Philadelphia Fed index shows decline in factory activity for 9th straight month


The numbers: The Philadelphia Federal Reserve said Thursday its gauge of regional business activity rose to negative 10.4 in May from negative 31.3 in the prior month. Any reading below zero indicates deteriorating conditions. This is the ninth straight negative reading and the eleventh in the last twelve months. 

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expected a negative 20 reading in May.

Key details: The barometer on new orders increased 13.8 points but remained at negative 8.9 in May. The shipments index rose slightly to negative 4.7.  The measure on six-month business outlook worsened to negative 10.3 in May from negative 1.5 in the prior month.

Big picture: The continued contraction in activity is a sign that U.S. manufacturing continues to struggle.

The Philadelphia Fed index is closely followed to give economists an advance signal of factory conditions across the country.

The national ISM manufacturing index has been in contractionary territory for six months.

Earlier this week, the similar Empire State survey released by the New York Fed showed manufacturing activity plummeted 42.6 points to negative 31.8 in May. 

Market reaction: Stocks DJIA, -0.20% SPX, +0.01% were set to open mixed on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 3.629% rose to 3.62%.

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