While selling pressure has remained relatively subdued, stocks have moved to the downside over the course of morning trading on Monday. The major averages have slid more firmly into negative territory after showing a lack of direction earlier in the session.
The weakness that has emerged on Wall Street is largely due to the release of a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing the first contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity in almost three years.
The ISM said its purchasing managers index dropped to 49.7 in June from 53.5 in May, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to show a much more modest decrease to a reading of 52.0.
Health insurance stocks have moved notably lower on the day, dragging the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index down by 1.6 percent. Molina Healthcare (MOH) and UnitedHealth (UNH) are turning in two of the sector's worst performances.
Chemical, transportation, and natural gas stocks have also moved to the downside, while some healthcare provider, tobacco, and telecom stocks are posting strong gains.
The major averages are currently posting moderate losses, near their lows for the session. The Dow is down 76.82 points or 0.6 percent at 12,803.27, the Nasdaq is down 5.75 points or 0.2 percent at 2,929.30 and the S&P 500 is down 5.83 points or 0.4 percent at 1,356.33.
by RTT Staff Writer
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