) -- Log this under the "good signs of economic recovery" column.

This morning, data showed that the manufacturing business ticked upwards in the Midwest during August. The Institute for Supply Management said its Chicago purchasing managers index, which is a survey measuring manufacturing activity in the area, rose from a 43.4 reading in July to 50 this month.

Most economists were expecting a much smaller climb.

Business contraction is usually interpreted as a reading under 50, while a reading over that threshold indicates expansion.

On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management will release the index for their national manufacturers' survey, with many expecting the data to show expansion in national activity for the first time since last year.

Ahead of that, several major manufacturers' shares were sliding today.

Shares of


(F) - Get Report


United States Steel

(X) - Get Report


Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

were losing 2.1%, 2.5% and 0.9% each.

Joy Global


was also trading in the red, down 2.3%, while

Dow Chemical

(DOW) - Get Report

was off 2.7% this morning.


(MMM) - Get Report

shares were bidding at $71.55 after losing 37 cents, as Boeing was sliding $1.39 at $49.65.

Shares of

International Paper

(IP) - Get Report

, however, were rising this morning, putting on 23 cents, or 1%, at $22.61.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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