China’s factories power on; EasyJet warning; US retail sales

1. China surprises: China’s factories are picking up new orders and hiring workers again, defying the recent slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy.

The country’s huge manufacturing industry unexpectedly rebounded in March, government figures showed Sunday. The official purchasing managers index for the month jumped to 50.5, compared to 49.2 in February. A reading above 50 indicates growth from the previous month.

A separate survey of manufacturing activity by media group Caixin and research firm Markit released Monday was also unexpectedly positive.

Goods made in Chinese factories are shipped all over the world, and their demand is often viewed as a barometer for the health of the global economy.

Growth in China’s factory sector shifted into reverse at the end of last year and economists polled by Refinitiv had predicted this trend would continue.

2. EasyJet worries: Shares in EasyJet dropped over 8% in London after the airline cautioned that uncertainty over Brexit would hurt summer sales.

“Macroeconomic uncertainty and many unanswered questions surrounding Brexit are together driving weaker customer demand in the market,” the company said in a statement.

Airlines across Europe have been put under pressure by weaker fares, a shortage of pilots, rising fuel costs and continued uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Last week, Icelandic carrier Wow Air halted operations after failing to secure new investment.

3. Brexit debate: The UK parliament will hold a second round of votes on alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal on Monday.

The votes are not binding, but they could help lawmakers settle on a way forward.

Parliament rejected the deal May negotiated with the European Union for a third time on Friday. Business is most worried about a scenario where the United Kingdom crashes out of the bloc without a deal to protect trade.

The British pound has in recent weeks reflected the political chaos. “Consensus view — it’s untradeable,” said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale.

4. Global market overview: US stock futures were pointing higher.

Global markets were boosted by the positive data from China. European markets opened with gains and stocks in Asia ended their trading session higher.

Wall Street finished the first quarter on a strong note. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Nasdaq both closed 0.8% higher on Friday. The S&P 500 was up 0.7%.

After a tough end to 2018, the S&P 500 advanced 13% in the first three months of the year, its strongest quarter since 2009.

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5. Companies and economics: The US Census Bureau will release its February retail sales report at 8:30 a.m. ET.

IHS Markit manufacturing surveys in Germany, France, Italy and the eurozone failed to meet expectations. Germany’s manufacturing PMI slumped to its lowest level since July 2012.

Lyft’s IPO on Friday was a success. Shares in the company gained 8.7% in their debut to close at $78.29.

6. Coming this week:
Monday — US February retail sales; US ISM manufacturing
Tuesday — Walgreen earnings; US February durable goods orders
Wednesday — US ISM services
Thursday — Constellation Brand earnings; Reserve Bank of India rate decision
Friday — US March jobs report; EU finance ministers meet