NEW YORK, New York - U.S. manufacturing data for February has declined for the second month in a row while factory activity in the state of New York has fallen to a two year low.
The economy is spinning its wheels and not gaining any traction yet in this soft patch produced by trade wars and stock market turbulence and the government shutdown, Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York told Reuters Thomson Friday.
Thank God Fed officials were smart enough to take their foot off the rate hikes accelerator.
Despite the numbers, stocks rose on Friday and the U.S. dollar remained steady.
At the close of trading Friday the Dow Jones industrials had gained 138.93 points or 0.54% at 25,848.87.
The Standard and Poor's 500 rose 14.00 points or 0.50% to 2,822.48.
The Nasdaq Composite advanced 57.62 points or 0.76% to 7,688.53.
In foreign exchange markets the euro barely moved, adding just a few basis points to 1.1327.
The British pound flexed some muscles, rising solidly to 1.3285.
The Japanese yen was marginally stronger at 111.50, while the Swiss franc firmed a tad to 1.0019.
The Canadian dollar eased to 1.3347, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars were unchanged at 0.7084 and 0.6846.
European equity markets closed higher across the board Friday. The FTSE 100 in London closed up 0.60%.
The German Dax gained 0.85% while the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 1.04%.
Asian markets were mostly stronger. In Japan the Nikkei 225 rose 163.83 points or 0.77% to close at 21,450.85 Friday.
At the close the Shanghai Composite was up 31.07 points or 1.04% at 3,021.75.
In Hong Kong the Hang Seng was ahead 160.86 points or 0.56% at 29,012.26.
The Australian All Ordinaries was the odd man out Friday, although its loss was minor. At the close of trading the benchmark index was down 1.70 points or 0.03% at 6,265.10.