U.S. markets are open after a three-day weekend. And they’re not doing much.
The Dow is down 41 points (0.2%).
The S&P 500 is down 2 points (0.1%).
The Nasdaq is up 7 points (0.1%).
The unusually harsh winter continues to plague the economic data.
The New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index plunged to 4.58 in February from 12.51 in January. The new orders sub-index fell from 10.98 to -0.21.
“The decline only reversed the sharp increase seen last month,” said Capital Economics’ Amna Asaf. “The New York Fed didn’t mention the weather as a factor behind the decline, but we suspect it played a role. The index still managed to stay above the boom-bust level of zero.”
The weak NY Fed number was followed by a horrific homebuilder sentiment report.
The NAHB’s housing market index fell 10 points to 46 in February.
“Significant weather conditions across most of the country led to a decline in buyer traffic last month,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly. “Builders also have additional concerns about meeting ongoing and future demand due to a shortage of lots and labour.”
“The weakness were particularly pronounced in the Northeast and South, where the storms were acute,” noted TD Securities’ Millan Mulraine. “This report is yet another indication of the profound impact that the cold and wintry weather is having on a broad swathe of the economy, and while we expect this hiccup to growth to prove temporary, it will be sometime before the data begin to show a meaningful rebound in activity.”