Wall Street pulled back from record-high closes on Monday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 ended the day lower.
Economic data figured in to the day’s trading activity, as the Institute of Supply Management released its monthly non-manufacturing report, with a reading of 56 for the month of July, a significant leap ahead of economist expectations of 53.1, and far better than June’s 52.2.
Meanwhile, the UK and Eurozone in general have been displaying the kind of economic activity that has become unprecedented in recent years. The UK’s business activity index was up to 60.2 basis points for its best result since late 2006, and PMI reports from throughout the Eurozone for the month of July have shown similar gains as well.
Then there was Richard Fisher, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, who told an audience in Portland, Oregon that the Federal Open Market Committee was closer than ever to the dreaded tapering of $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, though he reiterated the need for the central bank to avoid market disruptions.
The confluence of all this news put downward pressure on stocks throughout the day, as investors were ostensibly concerned about the inevitable, if gradual, retreat of the Fed from the economy.
The S&P 500 ended the day 0.15 percent lower at 1,707.14, while the Dow was off by 0.3 percent at 15,612.13, and the NASDAQ closed 0.9 percent higher at 3,692.95 points.
Tech shares weighed on the S&P, with Microsoft (MSFT) , Intel (INTC) , and QUALCOMM Inc. (QCOM) all dropping on heavy trading. Residential construction companies DR Horton (DHI) and Lennar Corp. (LEN) also ended the day significantly lower.
On the Dow, Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) continued their respective slides after last week’s unpleasant earnings reports, and on the NASDAQ, tech shares provided support with Facebook (FB) , Micron Technology (MU) and Research In Motion Limited (BBRY) all advancing strongly on heavy trading throughout the day.