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Investing Specialists

Who to Believe--Management or Government Statistics?

Corporate management's comments on orders and shipments have generally been very bullish, in sharp contrast to macroeconomic data that suggest the manufacturing growth boom is coming to a rapid end.

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With the exception of industrial production figures, most indicators this week were relatively minor releases. So this week's market moves were largely driven by a rate hike in China and relatively positive corporate earnings news, especially from the industrials and tech sectors.

The market is particularly sensitive to news out of China, because the country has been so important in pulling the world economy out of its slump. Markets feared that higher rates would mean slower growth for China, which would in turn import fewer commodities and capital goods from developed economies. Better-than-expected gross domestic product and production numbers out of China for the third quarter (announced later in the week) assuaged some of the fears surrounding the rate hike.

Real estate data for the week were more positive as new housing starts, while still exceptionally depressed, came in better than expected. The architectural billing index, a great leading indicator for commercial construction, flipped into growth territory for the first time since 2008.

Robert Johnson, CFA does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.