Stocks Deliver Downbeat July Finish
For July, the Dow added 128 points, or roughly 1%, thanks mainly to the massive rally that closed last week. The S&P 500 tacked on 17 points, or 1.25%, for the month, and the Nasdaq rose more than 4 points, or 0.15%. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is up 9.68% and the Nasdaq has risen 12.83%.
The weakest sectors in the broad market were energy, consumer non-cyclicals, utilities, basic materials and capital goods. Technology was a bright spot.
The slump in stocks came despite domestic economic data that was generally better than expected. The Case-Shiller 20-city home-price index fell 0.7% year over year, less than the predicted 1.5% decline. But on a monthly basis, all 20 cities posted positive returns and 17 of them saw those rates of change increase sequentially.
The Chicago purchasing managers index for July increased to 53.7 from 52.9 last month. Economists on average, expected it to fall to 52.4.
The Conference Board said that consumer confidence improved to 65.9 in July from an upwardly revised 62.7 in June. The consensus forecast among economist was for a decline in July to 61.5.
The Commerce Department reported personal income rose 0.5% in June after increasing by an upwardly revised 0.3% the previous month. Personal spending was unchanged after a downwardly revised 0.1% dip in May. Economists in a Thomson Reuters poll predicted that personal income rose by 0.4% in June and that personal spending inched up 0.1%.
Also, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that compensation costs for civilian workers increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% for the three-month period ended June 2012, as expected.
September crude oil futures settled down $1.72 at $88.06 a barrel. December gold futures fell $9.40 to settle down at $1,614.60 an ounce.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 9/32, lowering the yield to 1.470%. At last check, the greenback was trading down 0.21%, according to the dollar index.
The FTSE in London settled down 1.02% and the DAX in Germany finished flat as tepid labor market data along with disappointing earnings in Europe hurt sentiment.