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Expand chart
Data: IHS Markit, ISM; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The IHS Markit and ISM manufacturing indexes diverged sharply again in December, with ISM's gauge showing the worst manufacturing report in a decade and Markit's showing a solid reading well above 50, which is the line separating expansion from contraction.

What's happening: One reason for this divergence, highlighted by IHS Markit's chief business economist Chris Williamson in a recent blog, may be that IHS explicitly tells respondents to "confine their reporting to US facilities/factories."

  • "ISM data could therefore be more heavily influenced by global conditions facing ... US-owned companies than the IHS Markit data," Williamson writes.

State of play: Markit's global manufacturing index and the overwhelming majority of its indexes outside the U.S. declined sharply in December, but the U.S. held firm, dipping just 0.2 points from November's total.

What it means: Markit's gauge may more accurately reflect the situation in the U.S. However, because global supply chains are so interconnected, the situation for American manufacturing companies may be as dire as the ISM's survey suggests.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

53 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

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Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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Why fears of a SPAC bubble may be overblown

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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Between the lines: There are growing concerns that retail investors are about to get rolled, with smart sponsors taking advantage of dumb money.