The Fed will certainly have welcomed the latest ISM Non-Manufacturing data which saw growth returning to the services sector in February.
Following a fall in January where the index printed 56.7, ISM Non-Manufacturing rebounded to 59.7 in February. This moved higher above the neutral 50 level and beat analyst expectations of 57.3
Growth Rebounding Over Feb
Slightly lower than expected growth readings for Q4 2018, as well as some weakness across January data points, built concern regarding the trajectory of growth in the US.
However, Anthony Nieves, chairman of the ISM’s non-manufacturing business survey commented that while survey respondents were cautious regarding the “uncertainty of tariffs, capacity constraints and employment resources” they were mostly optimistic about US business conditions on the whole.
The data reflected this optimism as the new orders component for February rose to 65.2, from the prior month’s 57.7. Meanwhile, the prices index rose to 59.4, from 54.4, marking its 21st consecutive month of expansion.
Consumer Confidence Beats Expectations Also
This data comes on the back of much better than expected consumer confidence data for February released last week. The consumer confidence reading printed 131.4 vs. 124.9 expected. Once again this highlighted the growing optimism.
There are many reasons driving this turn in sentiment. These include the end to the government shutdown and a sharp recovery in US equity markets. Not to mention progress in US/China trade talks, and tentative signs of progress in negotiations with North Korea.
If economic data can continue to track this positive trajectory, we might once again start to hear the conversation shift back to Fed rate hikes over the summer.
The USD Index is once again testing the 96.82 level. This has been a key pivot over the last nine months, as the bullish channel remains intact. Bears will need to see a break below the rising trend line support in order to negate the near term bullish view. This puts focus on a move up to test the next resistance around 9908 where we also have the channel top.