A supposed truism on Wall Street is that betting against the crowd is always a wise move. And these days, the crowd is decidedly bullish. Yes, that's often a sign that the end is near. But right now, a good argument can be made that things will still get better.
Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region showed modest improvement in October, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which saw its Business Outlook Survey rise to 1.0. However, despite that return to positive territory overall, key index components continued to reveal economic softness.
The new year in manufacturing started auspiciously as the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index jumped almost 4 percentage points to 58.4% -- the fastest expansion pace since 2004 -- from a revised 54.9 in December. Further, the closely watched new orders component also rose.