March ISM Rises Slightly But Misses Estimate

xxThe Institute for Supply Management’s index rose in March to 53.7 in March, slightly missing the briefing.com estimate of 54 but rising above February’s reading of 53.2 and 51.3 in January.

A reading over 50 percent shows that more companies are expanding rather than pulling back.

Ukraine

NATO foreign ministers are meeting for a two-day meeting in Brussels to weigh some of their options about how to respond to Russia’s annexation of Crime and troop buildup along the Russian-Ukraine border.

Several different news agencies reported yesterday that Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Merkel over the phone that he ordered some Russian troops to be pulled away from the Russian-Ukraine border.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he couldn’t confirm reports of a Russian pullback from Ukraine’s borders.

Moscow reported that it has no plans to send its armed forces to move into eastern Ukraine, claiming its troops have been conducting military exercises.

However, President Putin previously said that Russia reserves the right to defend ethnic Russians in Ukraine from threats.

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