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Short Squeeze on ISM? Believe It!

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LWA | Riser | Getty Images

Short squeeze on ISM: Dow hits 4-year intraday. The old 4-year intraday high of 13,297 on April 2 was passed this morning.

Huh? A short squeeze on the ISM? Sure looks like it. With the spate of disappointing economic numbers recently, seems like traders were short the market ahead of the April ISM number.

Why short? Because the regional ISMs were all weak, with the exception of Richmond.

Except today's national ISM number came in stronger than expected, at 54.8, ahead of the 53.0 expectations and up from 53.4 in March.

Here's an important development: the dollar ROSE on the ISM news, and commodities and commodity stocks rose as well. THAT is an improving economy tape, a less-probability-of-QE3-tape.

All the internals were strong: new orders, employment, deliveries.

Employment UP? Yep — to 57.3 from 56.1. Orders UP? Yep — to 58.2 from 54.5.

Firms are boosting employment and ordering more? Seems so.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries that contributed to the survey, 16 reported growth in April over May.

From a Furniture Maker: "Business conditions continue to improve."

From a Plastics & Rubber Products maker: "Strong demand [compared to] previous year."

From a Chemical Products maker: "We expect our production levels to remain at the current level or increase over the next quarter."

Not everyone was positive: Another Metal Products maker said "It appears that some of the early gains may be temporary."

How to reconcile the difference between regional and national ISM? Not clear, but there is no regional ISM for California. Hm. But California is big in defense. Not a robust industry at the moment.

This sets the bar a bit higher for Friday's nonfarm payroll report, as well as the ISM Services, out Thursday. Mercifully, there is no regional service ISMs.

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