Economic data has been mostly upbeat today. Consumer sentiment was a nice surprise that helped fuel earlier gains, pushing the S&P 500 to a fresh all-time high, while pending home sales showed a slender rise, climbing from 94.9 to 95.0 for January.
This is not a sizeable advance, but such a sign of stability amidst other signs of housing weakness provides some encouragement that housing could turn a corner come the spring. Further positive data came in the form of February’s Chicago PMI, which rose to 59.8, with the employment component showing noteworthy strength.
Despite these re-assuring indications, the stock market has reversed late in the day, with the Dow down 0.13% less than hour from the close in New York. The S&P 500 also dipped into the red before bouncing back slightly, showing gains of 0.13% at the time of writing and therefore on course for a second successive record close.
Despite this little wobble late in the session, both the Dow and the S&P are on track for gains over the course of the month of February.
March will kick off with some important manufacturing reports; we have Markit’s final manufacturing PMI for February and the ISM’s manufacturing index on Monday. Manufacturing data has been showing an unclear picture recently, but these two reports will give us our best indications yet for how this sector performed this month.