Stocks Sharply Lower on Crisis in Ukraine! Stocks on Wall Street were sharply lower at midday as a number of better than expected domestic economic reports were entirely overshadowed by the escalating conflict in Ukraine, a test firing of two missiles by North Korea, and a multi-month low in China’s manufacturing PMI.
In the U.S., personal income rose 0.3% in January, versus the expected increase of 0.2%, while consumer spending rose 0.4%, versus the expected increase of 0.1%. Markit’s PMI rose to 57.1 for the final February print, which was up from the preliminary February print of 52.7 and from January’s 56.7 reading. ISM’s manufacturing PMI for February came in at 53.2, which was better than the expected 52.3 reading and the prior month’s 51.3 figure. Construction spending edged up 0.1% in January, which was better than an expected 0.5% decline. In China, the final Markit/HSBC manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for February fell for the third straight month to a seven-month low of 48.5. The official government manufacturing PMI fell to an eight-month low of 50.2, though the official non-manufacturing PMI rose to a three-month high of 55.0 in February. In Europe, Markit’s final euro zone PMI for February came in at 53.2, which was up from an earlier flash estimate of 53.0.
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