Wall Street's major market averages drifted back to their lows of day as investors brushed aside bullish manufacturing data and efforts by Beijing to diffuse escalating trade tensions with the US, instead shifting focus back on the lack of a trade deal with Canada and this week's heavy economic calendar.
After a defensive open, price action improved following this morning's data and reports that China will send Li Zhanshu -- chairman of the National People's Congress and the third-highest ranking official in the communist party -- to North Korea to jump start nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang. Not only will Li's visit mollify geopolitical tensions in the region but will improve US/China relations before $200 billion in new tariffs against Chinese imports go into effect later this month.
A pair of indices measuring the manufacturing sector were both better-than-expected with the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index climbing to its highest level since setting a record high in May 2004. And although the purchasing managers index was down slightly from July's 55.3, it improved to 54.7 from the 54.5 flash, slightly better than 54.5 estimates.
Additionally, construction spending improved 0.1% in July missing +0.4% estimates. However, June was revised upward to -0.8% from -1.1%.
In Europe, market indices were off their lows but closed with a loss as instability in emerging market currencies continues to spook investors. The Euro-Stoxx 600 fell to a two-month low with mining stocks leading declines due to fears of a US/China trade war.
Crude oil was up $0.49 to $70.29 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.07 to $2.84 per 1 million BTU. Gold down $9.50 to $1,197.20 an ounce, while silver was down $0.42 to $14.13 an ounce. Copper was down $0.08 to $2.59 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.31% to $14.76 with the United States Natural Gas Fund down 2.63% to $23.32. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 2.64% to $18.07 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.62% to $112.81. The iShares Silver Trust was down 2.84% to $13.26.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was down 68.68 points (-0.53%) to 12,948.21
Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 97.23 points (-0.37%) to 25,867.59
S&P 500 was down 8.56 points (-0.30%) to 2,892.90
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 45.79 points (-0.56%) to 8,063.57
FTSE 100 was down 46.74 points (-0.62%) to 7,457.86
DAX was down 136.20 points (-1.10%) to 12,210.21
CAC 40 was down 71.10 points (-1.31%) to 5,342.70
Nikkei 225 was down 10.48 points (-0.05%) to 22,696.90
Hang Seng Index was up 260.80 points (+0.94%) to 27,973.34
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 29.84 points (+1.10%) to 2,750.58
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 88.24 points (-0.75%) to 11,748.96
NYSE Financial Sector Index was down 30.91 points (-0.38%) to 8,079.09
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 112.94 points (-0.72%) to 15,773.23
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