U.S. Stocks: Fluctuate on Factory Data Amid Retail Reports

According to Bloomberg,

U.S. stocks fluctuated, following a three-month advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as data showed manufacturing unexpectedly climbed last month and investors assessed reports on holiday retail sales.

EBay (EBAY) Inc. climbed 2.7 percent as a report showed online spending on Black Friday rose to a record. Gap Inc. and Best Buy Co. added more than 1.9 percent. Newmont Mining Corp., the world’s second-largest gold producer, slipped 3.2 percent as the precious metal’s price declined. 3M Co. lost 3.2 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent to 1,807.94 at 1:39 p.m. in New York after earlier sliding as much as 0.2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 21.77 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,064.64. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 17 percent lower than the 30-day average at this time of day.

“The economic data continues to indicate a synchronized global recovery pattern,” Eric Teal, who helps oversee $5 billion as the chief investment officer at First Citizens BancShares Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, said by phone. “I don’t think that the data is too robust that we’re worried about inflation or premature tapering at this juncture.”

The S&P 500 climbed 2.8 percent last month and has gained 27 percent this year, poised for the best annual performance since 1998, after the Federal Reserve refrained from tapering its third round of economic stimulus. The index ended November with its eighth straight weekly advance, the longest rally in almost a decade, as data on employment and consumer sentiment boosted confidence in economic growth.

Factory Data

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index rose to 57.3 in November from 56.4 a month earlier, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed today. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of 77 economists called for a drop to 55.1. Estimates ranged from 53.5 to 57.5. Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the economy.

A separate report from Markit Economics showed the final November index of U.S. manufacturing increased to 54.7 from 51.8 the previous month. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for no change from the preliminary November reading of 54.3. Other reports showed manufacturing in the euro area, U.K. and China expanded faster than estimated.

The Labor Department’s jobs report on Dec. 6 is forecast to show the U.S. added 180,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate slipped to 7.2 percent, matching the lowest level in five years. The weakest employment recovery in seven decades is proving a boon to equity markets.

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