Stocks have fallen on every trading day this year.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,437.3 (-32.6, -0.2%)
- S&P 500: 1,827.7 (-3.6, -0.2%)
- Nasdaq: 4,115.5 (-16.3, -0.4%)
And now the top stories:
- The S&P 500 has closed in the red on all three trading days this year. However, the moves so far have been modest. For reference, the index had ended 2013 at an all-time high of 1,848.
- The ISM non-manufacturing index unexpectedly fell to 53.0 in December from 53.9 in November, a sign that growth in the massive U.S. services sector is slowing. On the bright side, the employment sub-index jumped to 55.8, which appears to be a good near-term sign for jobs. However, the new orders sub-index plunged 7 points to 49.4, the lowest reading since May 2009. “The decline in new orders activity augurs negatively for future service sector performance,” said TD Securities’ Gennadiy Goldberg. “A further weakening in new orders activity is likely to lead a pullback in the employment component of the services survey, potentially suggesting a slowing in payroll growth.”
- The disappointing ISM number was confirmed by a modest downturn in Markit’s services PMI, which fell to 55.7 in December from 55.9 in November.
- Factory orders grew by 1.8% in November, coming in just a hair above the 1.7% growth expected. “Nondefense capital goods orders ex-aircraft, our proxy for business capital spending was revised down slightly,” noted Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi’s Chris Rupkey. “We would hasten to add that these orders are just 0.2%, that is two-tenths, away from all time record highs. Factory orders are not a worry for the outlook if they are near a record.”
- Blackstone’s Byron Wien published his 10 surprises for 2014 today. “We experience a Dickensian market with the best of times and the worst of times,” he wrote. “The worst comes first as geopolitical problems coupled with euphoric extremes lead to a sharp correction of more than 10%. The best then follows with a move to new highs as the Standard & Poor’s 500 approaches a 20% total return by year end.”