The numbers: The Philadelphia Fed said Thursday its gauge of regional business activity inched up to negative 23.2 in March from negative 24.3 in the prior month. Any reading below zero indicates deteriorating conditions. This is the seventh straight negative reading and the ninth in the last ten months.
Key details: Broad indicators in the data were all negative in March. The barometer on new orders sank to negative 28.2 in March from negative 13.6 in the prior month. The shipments index sank to negative 25.4 from 8. The measure on six-month business outlook weakened to negative 8 in March from 1.7 in the prior month.
Big picture: The health of the manufacturing is deteriorating in March.
Earlier this week, the similar Empire State survey released by the New York Fed showed manufacturing activity sank 18.8 points to negative 24.6 in March.
The ISM factory index rose slightly to 47.7% in February, staying below the key 50 breakeven mark for the fourth straight month. Manufacturers in the national survey did not express any alarm about business activity, viewing the slowdown as temporary.
Market reaction: Stocks
were set to open slightly lower on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
slipped down to 3.42%.