Investing.com - Manufacturing activity in the Chicago-area expanded at a slower rate than expected in March, dampening optimism over U.S. economic growth, industry data showed on Monday.
In a report, market research group Kingsbury International said its Chicago purchasing managers’ index fell to a seasonally adjusted 55.9 this month from a reading of 59.8 in February. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 59.0 in March.
The new orders index fell to 58.8 in March from 63.6 in February, while the employment index dropped to 50.0 this month from 59.3 in the preceding month.
On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates expansion, below indicates contraction.
Commenting on the MNI Chicago Report, Philip Uglow, Chief Economist of MNI Indicators said, “March saw a significant weakening in activity following a five month spell of firm growth. It’s too early to tell, though, if this is the start of a sustained slowdown or just a blip.”
Following the release of the data, the U.S. dollar held on to losses against the euro, with EUR/USD rising 0.23% to trade at 1.3783.
Meanwhile, U.S. equity markets were higher after the open. The Dow Jones Composite rose 0.65%, the S&P 500 inched up 0.65%, while the Nasdaq advanced 0.7%.
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