The Philadelphia Fed’s March business and manufacturing survey came in at 9.0.
Consensus was for a reading of 3.2, up from -6.3 last month.
The employment index remained positive for the ninth consecutive month but edged 3 points lower.
Nearly 49% of firms asked about expectations for capital spending for 2014 compared with 2013 said they planned to increases, compared with 21% saying it would decrease. “Expected high sales growth and the need to replace equipment were the most cited reasons for the increase,” the Fed said in a statement. “Among the firms that did not plan to increase capital spending, the most cited reasons were low sales growth, low capacity utilization, and a limited need to replace capital and technology equipment.”
Here’s the updated chart: