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Economic data this month has been pretty underwhelming, overall and heading into tomorrow's big ISM manufacturing index, we got the last two regional indices today. Both were weak, with the April Chicago PMI posting a 56.2 reading, down from 62.2 in March and representing its lowest point since November 2009 (the Street was looking for 60.8). There were comparable declines in both new orders and production, although there was a modest increase in the employment component, to 58.7 from 56.3.
The Dallas Fed index went down to -3.4 from 10.8 month to month and was the lowest in 7 months. There were negative readings on new orders and shipments, and the employment component went down to 11.8 from 21.7.
That rounds out an all-around weak month for manufacturing in which all but the Richmond index registered declines. The consensus estimate for the ISM is a drop to 53.0 from 53.4 but we are concerned it could go lower. Most of the indices (save for Richmond) look similar to where they were back in 4Q last year at the tail end of the EU debt crisis.
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