ISM Reports Drop in Factory Activity, Consumer Spending Down

US factory activity fell in January to 53.5, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest manufacturing index. The reading was down from the 55.1 seen in December and below economists’ expectations.

Gallup’s Daily Consumer Spending report showed the average consumer spent $81 in January, compared to the $98 in December. While consumer spending fell, it is still one of the highest averages seen in January since 2008.

Exxon Mobil Corp. saw earnings drop 21% in the fourth quarter due to declining oil prices. However, lower taxes and the company’s chemical division helped Exxon beat Wall Street expectations.

Employees at 9 United Steelworkers refineries are on strike due to disputes in contract negotiations. United Steelworkers refineries produce 10% of US gasoline, diesel and other fuels.


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