The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index is due for release Tuesday, which outside of inflationary periods (i.e., now), tends to be one of the more important economic indicators for financial markets, given its record as a bellwether.
Even compared to other rate-hike cycles, the ISM manufacturing series has been one of the worst in history, points out Jason Daw, head of North America rates strategy at RBC Dominion Securities. Daw makes the case that the U.S. economy overall is not very strong for this period of the cycle, and the manufacturing data, not just ISM but also industrial production, has been particularly feeble.
But the call of the day comes from JPMorgan’s economic team. They note that while global manufacturing stalled in the first half, the non-manufacturing components rose at a 3.2% annualized rate, allowing the global economy to grow at an above trend 2.7% rate.
The team led by Bruce Kasman say that the typical channels through which weak manufacturing would bring down the broader economy haven’t materialized. “A major channel by which weakness in goods sectors broadens out is through depressing corporate income and pricing power. While our start-of-year outlook anticipated elevated wage gains to pressure corporate profits, the surprising strength in [first-half] global GDP was accompanied by upside surprises to inflation,” they say. In turn, there have been solid gains in both labor income and profits, and while margins have come off their peaks, they are well above pre-pandemic levels.
Business hiring, they add, is the ultimate signal of confidence, and employment growth has continued even though expectations have soured.
Now, say the JPMorgan team, the stage is set for a goods sector recovery. Labor income, when adjusted for inflation, is rising, while finished goods inflation is falling sharply.
Also, business capital spending continues to expand, particularly in emerging economies outside of China. And importantly, inventories are swinging from a drag to a lift. In the first half, the step down in the pace of stock building depressed global industrial production by 3.4 percentage points.
“Even if the pace of stockbuilding was only to level off, the impulse to global industry would be material. Add to that a potential desire to align the pace to firming demand growth and the boost could generate a jump in factory output in the coming months,” they say.
Finally, they note, the tech spending decline after the 2020 to 2021 surge looks to be ending, and global motor vehicle production is picking up as supply-chain bottlenecks ease.
After an okay finish for the S&P 500 SPX,
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The ISM report is due out at 10 a.m. Eastern, when the job openings and construction spending reports also come out. Monthly auto sales also will be released throughout the day.
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