Closing Update: Stock Market Skid Continues as Service Economy Disappoints

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A mid-afternoon rebound stalled and stocks finished lower Monday, pulled under by a surprise drop in service sector activity last month, offset somewhat by a slightly better-than-expected increase in November factory orders. Consumer stocks struggled throughout the session, with snow storms and bitterly cold temperatures in large portions of the country spurring worries that retail sales will suffer. The S&P 500 has dropped, although moderately, over three straight sessions.

The Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing sector index fell to a 53.0 reading in December from 53.9 the prior month, trailing expectations for for a rise to 54.8. While the employment component last month was bullish, advancing to 55.8 from a 52.5 score in November, new orders tumbled below the 50 mark indicating expansion, declining to 49.4 December reading from 56.4.

November factory orders jumped 1.8%, the Commerce Department reported Monday, beating market estimates for a 1.6% advance and reversing a 0.9% contraction during October.

Commodities were mostly lower. Crude oil for February delivery fell 50 cents to settle at $93.46 per barrel while January natural was unchanged at $4.30 per 1 million BTU. February gold slid 20 cents at $1,238.20 per ounce while March silver was off 9 cents to $20.11 per ounce. March copper added a penny to finish at $3.36 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 45.01 (-0.27%) to 16424.98

S&P 500 down 4.60 (-0.25%) to 1826.77

Nasdaq Composite Index down 18.23 (-0.44%) to 4113.68

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index down 0.58%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.80%

FTSE 100 Index unchanged

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) VRS, Agrees to acquire privately held NewPage Holdings Inc, paying $250 mln in cash through a special dividend to NewPage shareholders and $650 mln in new first-lien notes issued at closing. VRS also will issue up to $500 in stock.

(+) SEED, Shares jump to two-year high as investors embrace the Chinese technology-focused supplier of crop seeds ahead of the release of FY13 results Wednesday morning.

(+) SCTY, Climbs to a new all-time high after Goldman Sachs reportedly adds the solar-energy company to its Conviction Buy List. Goldman downgrades First Solar Inc. ( FSLR ) to Sell, saying the company is not positioned for near-term growth.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) SCSS, Expects Q4 EPS below the low end of its $0.18 to $0.26 guidance on $231 mln in preliminary revenue. Street has been looking for a $0.22 per share profit on $242.6 mln in revenue.

(-) IPDN, LinkedIn Corp ( LNKD ) ends Diversity Recruitment Partnership Agreement, effective March 30. The networking and job board for Latino professionals said it expects an unspecified negative impact on near-term revenue.

(-) HGG Guides Q3 EPS, sales below consensus. Same-store sales fall 11.2% over year-ago levels.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: FSLR , LNKD

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