Stocks moved mostly lower during trading on Monday as traders expressed renewed concerns about the outlook for the global economy. The losses on the day partly offset the strength that was seen in the markets last week.
The major averages all ended the day in negative territory, although the Dow posted only a modest loss. While the Dow edged down 26.50 points or 0.2 percent to 13,583.65, the Nasdaq fell 23.84 points or 0.8 percent to 3,112.35 and the S&P 500 slid 5.05 points or 0.4 percent to 1,455.88.
The weakness on Wall Street was partly due to negative sentiment generated by news that the World Bank cut its growth outlook for the East Asia region.
The World Bank said growth in developing economies in East Asia is expected to slow to 7.2 percent this year from 8.3 percent in 2011. The forecast is weaker than the bank's May projection of 7.6 percent growth.
East Asian growth is seen recovering to 7.6 percent in 2013, backed by continued strong domestic demand and an uptick in global trade growth. However, the estimate is lower than an earlier prediction of 8 percent growth.
Traders also kept an eye on developments in Europe, where European finance ministers are holding a meeting to discuss the region's debt crisis.
Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "Ahead of another European Finance Minister coffee talk today, eyes are on the pressure the Spanish government will likely get to stop playing games on the day the Europeans are supposed to roll out their new bailout toy, the ESM."
"Greece will be the other story as it seems they will get further leeway from their sugar daddies who will never get paid back all of what's owed to them but for now will pretend to," he added.
Nonetheless, trading activity remained relatively subdued, with many traders away from their desks due to the Columbus Day holiday.
Housing stocks moved notably lower over the course of the trading day, dragging the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index down by 1.5 percent. Standard Pacific (SPF) and PulteGroup (PHM) turned in two of the sector's worst performances.
Significant weakness was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent loss posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Within the sector, Power Integrations (POWI) and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) posted notable losses.
Telecom, biotechnology, and gold stocks also came under pressure on the day, moving to the downside along with most of the other major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday, with the Japanese markets closed for a public holiday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.9 percent, while Australia's All Ordinaries Index slipped 0.3 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dropped 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index slid 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the bond markets were closed for the day due to the Columbus Day holiday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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