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US stocks slip lower in morning trading

Posted: February 3, 2014 8:12 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2014 8:12 a.m.
 

U.S. stocks slid lower in morning trading on Monday on fresh concerns about the U.S. and global economies, as well as word from Ford Motor that auto sales are off to a lackluster start this year.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 133 points, or 0.8 percent, to 15,565 at 10:14 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 15 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,767. The Nasdaq slipped 38 points, or 1 percent, to 4,064.

FACTORIES SLOW: U.S. manufacturing barely expanded last month as factories cut back sharply on production, and new orders plunged, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers. The group said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 51.3 in January from 56.5 in the previous month. That's the lowest reading since May and suggests that factories are slowing slightly at the start of the year.

SPINNING WHEELS: Chrysler said Monday its U.S. sales rose 8 percent in January, but that strong growth isn't expected to be the norm when other automakers report sales Monday. Ford said sales fell 7 percent last month from a year earlier to 154,644 vehicles, citing difficult weather in the company's largest sales regions. Ford shares slipped 29 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $14.67. Analysts expect little or no growth compared with a year earlier because multiple snowstorms and cold snaps kept buyers from showrooms. Analysts still expect sales to be over 16 million this year — a return to pre-recession levels.

TOUGH START: Stock investors were hit from all sides in January. Concerns about the global economy and U.S. company earnings, as well as turmoil in emerging markets, led the Dow to its worst start since 2009. The index slid 5.3 percent last month while the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3.6 percent.

CHINA JITTERS: Fresh signs of weakness in a survey about manufacturing in China added to lingering worries about developing economies. The official Chinese manufacturing survey released over the weekend showed factory output grew at a slower rate in January compared with December. That survey followed a HSBC survey that showed a contraction in China's manufacturing.

DEAL DOUBTS: Jos. A Bank Clothiers fell $2.11, or nearly 4 percent, to $54.13 in morning trading on continued doubts that a takeover bid by rival clothier Men's Wearhouse will go through. The two retailers have been dueling since October when Jos. A. Bank offered $2.3 billion for Men's Wearhouse.

GLOBAL DRIFT: Major European stock indexes were little changed Monday. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 6,491 while France's CAC-40 was down 1 percent to 4,126. Germany's DAX fell 0.9 percent to 9,222. The Nikkei 225, the barometer for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, closed down 2 percent at 14,619.13. The yen has reversed some of its weakness against the dollar in recent days, which is a negative for exporting stocks. Markets were closed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Malaysia for Lunar New Year holidays.

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