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Economic Report: Philly Fed manufacturing index retreats but growth still healthy in October

The numbers: The Philadelphia Fed said Thursday its gauge of regional business activity fell to 23.8 in October from 30.7 in the prior month. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expected a 24.5 reading. The index had jumped sharply in September and so a pullback was expected. Any reading above zero indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector.

Big picture: A reading of 23.8 is in solid growth territory.

Last week, a similar survey conducted by the New York Fed showed manufacturing fell by 14.5 points to 19.8 in October.

Investors look at the two reports mainly to get a sense of the U.S. national ISM index. In September, the ISM factory index rose to 61.1% from 59.9% in prior month.

Market reaction: Stocks
DJIA,
+0.43%

SPX,
+0.37%

were set to open lower on Thursday after a run up in recent days on strong third quarter earnings.

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