Manufacturing growth in the US slightly rebounded off an eight-month low in February, topping estimates and fueled by a recovery in new orders.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 53.2 in February, up from January’s read of 51.3, which was the weakest reading since May 2013.
Readings above 50 indicate expansion in the sector. February’s measurement topped the median forecast of 52.0 in a Reuters poll of economists.
The report ends two straight months of slowing manufacturing growth in the US, however, it still remains below November’s recent peak reading of 57, which is the highest since April 2011.
Last month’s weakness came on a steep drop in the forward-looking new orders index. That component rebounded to 54.5 from 51.2 in January.
There were some cautionary notes, as the production subindex sank to 48.2 from 54.8, notching its third straight month of declines and falling below 50 for the first time since August 2012. The employment index held flat at 52.3.
Meanwhile, global markets tumbled on growing fears of war sparked by the Ukraine crisis. The Russian market was down more than 10 percent, and as of 10:40 AM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 171 points.