Conflicting information plagued the equity market last month. On one hand, the number of job openings far exceeded previous readings. Productivity, likewise, topped expectations and non-farm payrolls increased more than twice as much as the previous month. The widely followed ISM Manufacturing Index moved back into expansion territory as the new orders measure jumped.
On the other hand, housing starts remained relatively weak: The Philadelphia Fed Index had a negative reading for the sixth consecutive month and the lowest reading since May 2020, and interest rates climbed steadily throughout the month.