A worker uses a power drill to install vehicle parts inside a semi truck cab at the Mack Trucks Inc. cab and vehicle assembly facility in Macungie, Pennsylvania.
The numbers: The Philadelphia Federal Reserve said Thursday its gauge of business activity fell to 5.6 in October from 12 in September. Economists polled by Econoday expected a 7.1 reading. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions.
What happened: The barometers on new orders and shipments were mixed. The new orders gauge rose to 26.2 from 24.8 while shipments dipped to 18.9 from 26.4. Employment readings rose in the month.
The measure on six-month business outlook rebounded after a sharp drop in the prior month.
Big picture: A similar survey conducted by the New York Fed recently saw sentiment inch higher to 4 in October. The two regional reports get attention as leading indicators of the national ISM factory index.
Economists said firms in Philadelphia and New York are less sensitive to the China trade war than manufacturers in other regions.
In September, the ISM s manufacturing index fell to 47.8, the lowest level since June 2009, from 49.1 the prior month. Readings below 50 indicate contraction. The manufacturing sector is in recession, damaged by international trade tensions, weak global growth and a strong U.S. dollar.
Market reaction: Stocks SPX, -0.20% were set to open higher Thursday getting a boost after U.K. and European Union negotiators agreed on a draft Brexit deal.