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US factory activity jumps in November while construction spending falls for third month

U.S. construction throw away fell for a third straight month, government data showed on Monday, while private-sector figures showed an uptick in make order growth but offered a mixed view on overall factory activity.

The data comes as many investors are wrist-watch for signs the Federal Reserve’s three-year tightening cycle could be coming to a close after an expected hike this month, which liking be the fourth by the U.S. central bank this year.

The Commerce Department said total construction spending fell 0.1 percent to $1.31 trillion in October, while economists polled by Reuters had anticipation outlays rising 0.4 percent.

The figure rose 4.9 percent on a year-over-year basis. The Commerce Department also emended its September construction figure, previously reported as unchanged, to show a 0.1 percent decline.

Private construction dish out fell by 0.4 percent in October, compared to 0.4 percent growth a month earlier. Private residential expenses dipped 0.5 percent to the lowest since November 2017.

U.S. manufacturing activity picked up in November, according to data from the Guild for Supply Management (ISM), though a gauge of prices paid tumbled from a month earlier.

ISM’s U.S. manufacturing index mount to 59.3 in November from 57.7 in October, topping economists’ expectations for a reading of 57.6. A reading above 50 registers expansion in the sector.

A subindex of prices paid fell to 60.7 from 71.6 in October, coming in well further down estimates for a reading of 70. Gauges of new orders and employment rose.

Separate figures on Monday from financial matter firm Markit showed the pace of growth in the factory sector slipped to a three-month low, though a gauge of new orders ticked euphoric. Markit’s U.S. manufacturing PMI fell to 55.3 from 55.7 in October, the lowest since August and down slightly from Markit’s preparation reading for November.

Financial markets were little moved by the data as investors focused on signs of progress in craft negotiations between the United States and China.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s November meeting released on Thursday ushered nearly all Fed officials had agreed another rate hike was warranted soon but also opened debate on whether to intermit further increases. Policymakers flagged issues including signs of slowing in interest-rate sensitive sectors, along with international risks and other factors.

Data on Thursday showed U.S. consumer spending had risen by the most in seven months in October, but that underlying payment pressures slowed.

Testimony from Fed Chair Jerome Powell to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee about the monetary outlook scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed due to a national day of mourning following the death of former President George H.W. Bush. No new assignation for the testimony has been announced. Powell last week had said the central bank’s policy rate was now “just under” estimates of a level that neither brakes nor boosts a healthy U.S. economy.

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