The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond released data from its index of manufacturing activity indicating an unexpected drop in the mid-Atlantic region for the month of July, from June’s’s +8 reading to a reading of -11, a far cry from the +7 that had been the expectation of economists.
Meanwhile, the slew of earnings reports over the last two weeks has shown a large number of companies who have been able to increase earnings-per-share, while revenues and sales growth have remained somewhat stagnant.
The S&P 500 shed 0.19 percent to end the day at 1,692.93 points, while the NASDAQ dropped 0.59 percent to 3,579.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to stay in the positive, to the tune of 22 points, up 0.14 percent to close trading at 15,567.74.
The S&P was weighed down mainly by tech shares, with losses for Sprint Nextel (S) , Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) , Yahoo! (YHOO) and Dell Inc. (DELL) . Basic materials stocks held their own against the day’s losses, with gains for mining companies such as Peabody Energy (BTU) and Cliff’s Natural Resources (CLF) , as well as oil and gas refiners Marathon Petroleum (MPC) and Phillips 66 (PSX) .
United Technologies Corp. ($UTX) was the Dow’s best performer of the day after releasing its second-quarter earnings report early in the day indicating the company beat earnings-per-share expectations.
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