Business Briefs – March 2, 2016

AP Survey: Voter Anxiety at Odds With Economists’ Optimism

WASHINGTON (AP) — The insurgent presidential bids of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have roused Americans who are angry and anxious about an economy they feel has left them behind.

Most economists have a brighter view. They say that while many people haven’t benefited much since the recession ended, a stronger economy lies ahead. An AP survey last month found that a majority thinks the U.S. remains resilient enough to defy a global slump and sinking stock markets.

With job growth solid, higher wages and spending should offset global threats and support growth, they say.

Intercontinental Exchange Circles London Stock Exchange

NEW YORK (AP) — The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is considering a bid for the London Stock Exchange.

Last month London Stock Exchange Group PLC said that it was holding discussions with Deutsche Boerse over a possible tie up. Two previous attempts to combine the European exchanges, in 2000 and 2004, failed.

On Tuesday, Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which owns the NYSE, said that it has yet to decide whether to pursue an offer and hasn’t reached out to LSE’s board.

Factory Activity Shrinks in U.S., China in February

WASHINGTON (AP) – Factory activity in the United States and China — the world’s top two economies — slowed in February, reflecting and contributing to worldwide economic weakness.

In the United States, the Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its manufacturing index rose to 49.5 last month from 48.2 in January. Anything below 50 signals a decline. Manufacturing has now contracted in the United States for five straight months.

Two Chinese surveys of manufacturing activity released separately Tuesday showed deterioration in February.

U.S. Construction Spending Up 1.5 Percent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. construction spending increased in January by the largest amount in eight months as weakness in homebuilding was offset by a solid rebound in nonresidential activity.

Construction spending increased 1.5 percent in January, the biggest gain since May, following a 0.6 percent increase in December, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

The advance pushed total spending to a seasonally adjusted $1.14 trillion in January, the highest level in more than eight years.

Economists are optimistic that construction will continue to show solid gains this year, helping to boost overall economic growth.