U.S. factory output fell unexpectedly in March, charting its biggest decline in seven months as auto production contracted in a check on the manufacturing sector's expansion.
U.S. factory activity accelerated to more than a two-year high in January amid sustained gains in new orders and raw material costs, pointing to a recovery in manufacturing as domestic demand strengthens and the drag from low oil prices ebbs.
New orders for U.S. factory goods rose for a third straight month in September, but a further decline in order books suggested the manufacturing sector will struggle to emerge from a prolonged slump.
Massive monetary stimulus from Chinese and European central banks has done little to spur factory growth, raising doubts over whether U.S. interest rates will rise this year.

Today’s AM fix was $1,281, €1,128.93 and £851.84 per ounce.
Friday’s AM fix was $1,274.25, €1,122.69 and £847.92 per ounce.

Factory production in the U.S. rose more than forecast in October, indicating the partial government shutdown did little to halt the pickup in manufacturing at the start of the fourth quarter.
Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded in December at a pace that shows the industry is stabilizing after reaching a three-year low a month earlier.
Manufacturing in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted in November, reflecting weaker business demand, slower exports and disruptions from superstorm Sandy.
A look at the major economic reports and company earnings releases for the upcoming week.