Philly Fed index shows accelerating factory momentum in December The numbers: The Philadelphia Fed’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey jumped to a reading of 26.2 in December from 22.7, beating the consensus forecast of a slight downtick to 21.8.
What happened: Factory conditions in the mid-Atlantic are improving. In an index like this one, any reading over zero signals improvement, so December’s reading shows acceleration.
The new orders gauge of the index surged to 29.8 from 21.4, a positive signal about future activity. Shipments also rose. While survey respondents “continued to report increases in employment,” according to the release, two measures showed slower rates of growth: the gauge of the number of employees slipped to 18.1 from 22.6, and the workweek index hit 10.6, down from 13.7.
The big picture: An improving overseas economy is stoking demand for American businesses, and sentiment has been boosted by the promise of a tax cut. The New York Fed’s Empire State index..Read More →

Gold drifts near 2-week high as stocks churn, dollar slips Gold prices slipped but still churned near a two-week high Thursday, reflecting a pause for stocks and the dollar as markets looked past a new U.S. tax bill.
Financial markets around the globe largely put up a muted response on Thursday to the passage a day earlier of U.S. tax cuts with potential benefits to company bottom lines. The long-anticipated tax change was mostly priced in.
A flurry of economic data lies ahead Thursday, including revised GDP figures, jobless claims and regional growth snapshots, all are reports that could fill in some forecasting gaps as markets look ahead to an expected string of gold-negative interest-rate hikes next year.
Ahead of the data, February gold GCG8, -0.03% the most active contract on Comex, fell $1, or less than 0.1%, to $1,268.70 an ounce. Breaking with futures, the SPDR Gold Trust GLD, +0.27% was up modestly premarket after hitting its lowest level since early September earlier thi..Read More →