U.S. equities finished near their lows of the day, as some disappointing domestic economic data joined already-heightened concerns over global growth, as well as increased political noise coming out of Washington. Consumer Confidence, regional manufacturing and home price reports all came in south of expectations, which followed recent weak data out of the Eurozone and Japan. The downward moves came despite some relatively positive trade optimism, as the U.S. confirmed that it and China will resume high level talks early next month after last week’s discussions were cut short. Treasury yields were lower, as were crude oil prices and the U.S. dollar, while gold finished higher. In equity news, CarMax and AutoZone lost ground despite posting stronger-than-expected quarterly results, and Facebook announced a deal to acquire CTRL-Labs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 142 points (0.5%) to 26,808, the S&P 500 Index declined 25 points (0.8%) to 2,967 and the Nasdaq Composite decreased 119 points (1.5%) to 7,994. In heavy volume, 917 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.3 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil fell $1.35 to $57.29 per barrel and wholesale gasoline lost $0.03 to $1.63 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price rose $9.85 to $1,532.09 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was down 0.3% at 98.33.
The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 125.1 in September, from August’s downwardly-revised 134.2 level, well below the Bloomberg estimate of 133.0. The index hit the lowest level since June as both the Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index of business conditions for the next six months deteriorated. On employment, the labor differential—consumers’ appraisal of jobs being “plentiful” minus being “hard to get”—declined to 33.2 from the 38.3 level posted in August.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Activity Index for September unexpectedly fell to a level depicting contraction (a reading below zero) for the second month out of three, dropping to -9 versus forecasts calling for the figure to remain at August’s unrevised level of 1.
The 20-city composite S&P Core Logic Case-Shiller Home Price Index posted a 2.0% y/y gain in home prices in July, versus expectations of a 2.1% increase. M/M, home prices were little changed on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to forecasts of a 0.1% rise.
Treasuries were higher, as the yield on the 2-year note decreased 5 basis points (bps) to 1.62%, while the yield on the 10-year note was down 7 bps at 1.64%, and the 30-year bond rate declined 6 bps to 2.09%.
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