US MANUFACTURING DATA HITS NEAR FOUR-YEAR HIGH

Markit says U.S. manufacturing conditions unexpectedly improved to 56.7 in February.

It’s the best reading since May 2010.

Consensus expectations was for a reading of 53.6, down a tick from 53.7 last year.

Hiring improved at the fastest rate since last March.

Markit’s Chris Williamson commented:

“While the strong PMI reading in part represents a rebound from the temporary weakness seen at the

start of the year, further growth looks likely in coming months, suggesting the underlying health of the economy remains robust. In particular, February saw the largest rise in backlogs of work seen since

prior to the financial crisis, as well as a further steep fall in inventories of finished goods. Both point to ongoing growth of production and hiring in March.”

Here’s the full run-down:

The big news today was that flash China PMI came in below expectations, showing worsening contraction and tanking global markets.

We’ve been getting some shaky U.S. data recently, so a nasty figure here could exacerbate the picture.

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