Last week, the Citi Economic Surprise Index for the U.S. declined for the first time in fourteen weeks, dating back to June 28. Pushing the index lower was a virtually uninterrupted string of weaker than expected economic reports, beginning with the ISM report on manufacturing activity. Instead of bouncing back to a growth reading as expected, after slipping into contraction in August, the index fell even further as the manufacturing sector remains under pressure from trade policy and sluggish global economic activity. That was followed by an equally surprising slowdown in the service sector activity report, although it continues to grow. But it was the weakest reading in three years. Factory orders also disappointed, and private sector capital goods orders for August were even weaker than indicated in the preliminary estimate.