It's a huge day for markets, politics, and the US economy

It’s Super Tuesday in America!

Not only do we have a run of primaries for both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, but for markets and the economy we get the February report on auto sales and two manufacturing readings that will be crucial in judging the health of the economy.

Ahead of this rush of news and data, US stock futures were higher with Dow futures up about 125 points, S&P 500 futures up 16, and Nasdaq futures higher by 34.

On the auto sales front, expectations are sales will hit an annualized pace of 17.7 million in February, slightly better than the 17.5 million pace seen in January.

Automakers will report their sales on a rolling basis throughout the day.

Auto sales have have been perhaps the strongest part of the US economy over the last two years, indicating a continued appetite among consumers to spend for big-ticket items. And with the price of gas plunging over the last two years and the number of miles driven ticking up, auto sales should remain robust as long as the tepid US recovery remains intact.

Meanwhile reports on US manufacturing activity form Markit Economics and the Institute for Supply Management will push forward the debate over whether the US economy is continuing to grow or is slipping into recession.

Markit’s reading is expected to hit 51.2, indicating expansion in the US manufacturing sector — 50 is the breakeven point between expansion and contraction — while a reading below 48 on this measure is typically seen as a sign the economy is sinking into recession.

ISM’s reading is set to come in at 48.5, indicating contraction in the sector, though readings below 42 on this measure front are typically seen as indicators the economy is falling into contraction.

Keep it here at Business Insider as we’ll have complete live coverage of all the news as it rolls in.

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