U.S. manufacturing tumbled in January, sending stocks dramatically lower (-326 points) in Monday's trading. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) January 2014 Manufacturing Report on Business showed the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) slide of 5.2 percent to 51.3 percent from December's Index of 56.5 percent. While the ISM notes when the numbers are above 50 percent -- which generally indicates an expansion - that this represents the manufacturing economy expanded in January for the eighth consecutive month and the overall economy grew for the 56th consecutive month, the significantly slower growth didn't bode well for investors.
Other negative indicators in the ISM's report included new orders, down 13.2 percent to 51.2 percent from December's 64.4 percent; and production, down 6.9 percent to 54.8 percent from December's 61.7 percent. There were a few index measurements on the plus side that remained on the "expanding" side of 50, but included one index that manufacturers don't like to see: prices were up 7.0 percent to 60.5 percent from December's 53.5 percent. Employment also slowed to 52.3 percent in January from 55.8 percent in December.