Scoreboard: Shopping fatigue

Taper fears and talk of weak US holiday retail sales pushed Wall Street lower despite strong manufacturing and jobs data.

Despite another pick-up in American manufacturing activity, stocks remain subdued, travelling around zero as I write. I’m surprised by that, for sure, as the ISM index at 57.3 in November (up from 56.4) shows that the US economy grew for the 54th consecutive month. The index itself is at a 2.5-year high or thereabouts and well above the average of 51. Great news, right? Especially as it was accompanied by a stronger-than-expected lift in construction activity (0.8 per cent in October compared to a forecast of 0.4 per cent).

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