The Dow's Off 150 Points

American flag times squareREUTERS/Carlo AllegriThe U.S. flag is reflected in the window of a police car as a police man stands guard in Times Square ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York, December 31, 2013.

After closing 2013 at an all-time high, U.S. stock markets are kicking off 2014 in the red.

The Dow is down 150 points (0.9%). The S&P 500 is down 19 points (1.0%). The Nasdaq is down 42 points (1.0%).

Wall Street’s strategists expect 2014 to be another up year for stocks.

However, many expect to see a correction of around 10% before the year’s over.

Earlier today, we learned that manufacturing activity was still growing, albeit at a slower pace, in December.

The ISM manufacting survey index fell to 57.0 during the month from 57.3 in November. The employment sub-index climbed to 56.9, the highest reading since June 2011. The new orders sub-index jumped to 64.2, the highest reading since April 2010.

“The strength in ISM new orders is particularly encouraging, because it is a forward-looking component of the index, and it suggests that the headline will be able to sustain readings near recent levels in the near term,” said Deustche Bank’s Carl Riccadonna. “The resilience of the manufacturing ISM provides important corroboration that the economy is not slowing sharply in response to the large Q3 inventory build.”

Weekly unemployment insurance claims fell to 339,000 from 341,000 a week ago.

“With two straight readings not far from our guesstimate of the underlying trend, it is tempting to argue that the claims numbers are settling after an extended period of extreme volatility, triggered by the California systems problems, the government shutdown and old-fashioned seasonal adjustment problems,” said Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdon.

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