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Economic Report: U.S. industrial output has solid gain in September

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The numbers: Industrial production rose 0.4% in September, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

The gain was above economists’ expectations of a 0.1% gain, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal. Output in August was revised to a slight decline of 0.1% from the initial estimate of a 0.2% fall.

Capacity utilization rose to 80.3% in September from 80.1% in the prior month. The capacity utilization rate reflects the limits to operating the nation’s factories, mines and utilities. 

Economists had forecast a 80% rate.

Key details: Manufacturing output rose 0.6% in September after a 0.4% gain in the prior month. 

The index for mining, which includes oil and gas drilling, rose 0.6% after being flat in August.

Motor vehicles and parts output rose 1% after a 1.5% decline in the prior month. Excluding autos, total industrial output increased 0.3%.

Utilities output fell 0.3% in September after a sharp 3.3% drop in the prior month.

Big picture: After being the first sector to adjust to the pandemic, manufacturing activity has been softening in recent months. Production rose at a 2.9% annual rate in the July-September quarter, down from a 5.2% rate in the second quarter and a 4.7% rate in the first three months of the year. Orders are falling , in part, on weaker global trade.

Market reaction: U.S. stocks
DJIA,
+1.93%

SPX,
+2.04%

were set to open higher on Tuesday while the yield on the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
3.978%

slipped to 3.98% after rising above 4% earlier in the trading session.

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