Stocks Drop Across the Board as Europe Goes on Holiday and Manufacturing Comes Up Short for February.

Michael Teague  |

After the S&P 500 broke through to a new high last Thursday and Wall Street ended the week on a high-note, stocks pulled back across the board on Monday as the Institute for Supply Management’s reading for manufacturing in March came in at 51.3, almost three points shy of the 54.2 analyst forecast.

The real test could come on Tuesday, however, as European markets were closed for a holiday and thus did not have a chance to shake out any of the potential lingering consequences resulting from last week’s E.U. bailout of Cyprus.

In another sign of a slowly recovering economy, a report from the Commerce Department indicated that for the month of February, construction spending rose 1.2 percent to an annual rate of $885.1 billion, ahead of analyst estimates of a 1 percent increase.

Still, it is possible that relatively little is to be expected before data on the services sector is released on Wednesday, and more significantly, the Labor Department’s payrolls report for the month of March is released on Friday.

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The Nasdaq was the day’s biggest loser, dropping 0.87 percent to end at the day at 3,239.17, while the S&P 500 lost almost half a percent, 0.49, to close at 1,561.51, and the Dow finished off with only a slight drop of 0.09 percent to 14,565.17.

Notably, Zynga (ZNGA) dropped 6.25 percent to $3.15, while Netflix lost 3.60 percent to close at $182.46, and online real-estate website Zillow (Z) dropped 4.19 percent to $52.38.

Apple (AAPL) led the downward trend losing 3.11 percent to close at $428.91, on the double bad news of CEO Tim Cook’s apology to Chinese iPhone 4 users for a confusing warranty policy, as well as Fidelity’s Contrafund announcement that Google (GOOG) has replaced it as the firm’s largest holding.

Among the day’s other losses can be counted Intel Corp. (INTC), down 2.08 percent to $10.25, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), down 1.82 percent to $23.41, and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), down 1.69 percent to $85.50.

Meanwhile, Tesla Motors (TSLA) popped 14.28 percent to close up $43.30 on news that the electric car maker will be posting profits for the first quarter of 2013, for the first time and against expectations.

Shares for Ebay (EBAY) jumped 2.73 percent to end the day at $55.70 after an announcement that annual earnings growth between 15 and 19 percent was expected for the next three years, and several brokerages raised the company’s price target.

Blackberry (BBRY) closed with a gain of 4.59 percent at $15.11, the lingering effects of the impressive profit numbers released in last week’s earnings report.

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