STOCKS FALL: Here's What You Need To Know

Ufc korean zombie chan sung jung martial artsREUTERS/Ricardo MoraesJose Aldo of Brazil (R) fights with Jung Chan-sung of South Korea during the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, in Rio de Janeiro, August 3, 2013.

Stocks sold off a bit today. But they continue to be very near
Friday’s all-time closing highs.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 15,612.1, -46.2, -0.3%
  • S&P 500: 1,707.1, -2.5, -0.1%
  • NASDAQ: 3,692.9, +3.3, +0.0%

And now, the top stories:

  • The ISM services index surged to 56.0 in July from 52.2 in June. Economists were looking for a read of 53.1. This “supports other evidence that the economy is gaining momentum,” said Capital Economics’ Paul Dales. “The one disappointment was the drop in the employment index to 53.2 from 54.7, but that reversed only a third of May’s increase.”
  • The U.S. report followed stronger-than-expected services PMI reports from China, the Eurozone, and the U.K.
  • China’s official services sector PMI climbed to 54.1 in July from 53.9 in June. The unofficial HSBC China Services Business Activity Index came in at 51.3 in July, unchanged from June. Both numbers were welcome developments as much of the other recent economic data out of China have been signaling a dramatic slowdown.
  • According to Markit, the U.K.’s business activity index jumped to 60.2 in July from 56.9 in June. This is the highest reading since December 2006. “Combined with the manufacturing and construction figures, this is the clearest sign yet that the U.K. economy is experiencing a broad-based economic recovery and has the momentum to deliver continued growth,” said David Noble, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.
  • “Stateside investors are beginning to consider investments in Europe and elsewhere ex-U.S. for diversification once again as multiples expand stateside and hints that conditions are beginning to improve outside of the U.S., particularly in the developed European markets, emanate,” said Oppenheimer’s John Stoltzfus. “It appears to us that investing in Europe today might be parallel to investing stateside just a few years ago ahead of the big run-up.”
  • According to the Federal Reserve’s July Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey, credit conditions continued to be easy in the U.S. “In the July survey, domestic banks, on balance, reported having eased their lending standards and having experienced stronger demand in most loan categories over the past three months,” read the report. “This summary is based on the responses from 73 domestic banks and 22 U.S. branches and agencies of foreign banks.”
  • Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher spoke in Portland, Oregon today. He said that the Federal Open Market Committee is “now closer” to tapering its monthly purchases of $US85 billion worth of bonds. But he also added that the Fed must avoid “market havoc.”
  • Don’t Miss: 29 Stocks That Traders Are Shorting Like Crazy »

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