Philadelphia Fed Survey Tops Expectations - TheStreet

Philadelphia Fed Survey Tops Expectations

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its index gauging manufacturing conditions read 17.6 in February.
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PHILADELPHIA (

TheStreet

) -- Factory conditions in and around the Philadelphia region picked up this month, expanding at a slightly faster-than-expected rate as a surge in new orders hinted demand for manufactured goods is improving.

The

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank

said its index gauging manufacturing conditions read 17.6 in February. That marks a rise from 15.2 in January and tops a consensus forecast anticipating a reading of 17, according to figures provided by

Briefing.com

.

The index, which held positive for a sixth-straight month, is also well-above year-ago levels when the gauge slumped at -36.1.

The index results are culled from a survey of manufacturers in the region. According to the report, several specific readings in the manufacturing realm also showed improvement, including shipments, inventories, and prices received. But the report was quick to highlight a reading on new orders, which surged in February to register 22.7 after hitting a mere 3.2 in January.

The improving picture in Philly also echoed an earlier reading about

manufacturing in the New York region, where the New York Federal Reserve Bank's general business conditions index rose 9 points to register 24.9 in February.

Stocks pushed into positive territory after the report's release. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was adding 22 points, or 0.2%, at 10,331. A group of big manufacturing names were also holding on to gains and helping guide the blue-chip average higher, with

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

,

United Technologies

,

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

and

DuPont

(DD) - Get Report

adding 1.3%, 0.6%, 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York