Wall Street Slumps Toward September

Michael Teague  |

Stocks dipped significantly on Friday to end the month of August, as investor fears of US involvement in Syria were put on hold, and several bits of economic data brought the focus back to domestic economic issues.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended the day 0.32 percent lower to close out the week at 1,632.96 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.21 percent to 14,810.31 points, and the NASDAQ shed nearly one percent to 3,589.87.

Commenting on the week of market uncertainty that resulted in stocks ending much lower, on Thursday Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist of S&P Capital IQ, characterized investor concerns about another US military adventure. In an interview with Equities.com, Stovall noted that Syria has been a problem for over two years, going on to describe the week’s sell-off as an indication that “most people on Main Street really don’t want us to be entering another conflict in the Middle East.”

The UK Parliament delivered a major obstacle, if not a defeat, of the US attempt to gain international backing for a Syria strike, when it voted against British involvement in the conflict by a narrow margin, embarrassing Prime Minister David Cameron, who had dramatically called vacationing lawmakers back to London in order to decide on the issue.

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Otherwise, Wall Street had to contend with several economic data. points Though the unemployment situation in the Eurozone was shown to have changed little for the month of July, at 12.1 percent on a month-over-month basis, economic confidence surpassed expectations by 1.4 basis points to a reading of 95.2.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s Price Manufacturing Index remained flat at 53, while August consumer confidence figures from the University of Michigan’s index came in at a reading of 82.1, a slight jump on expectations of 80.5, as well as the previous month’s reading of 80. Personal income and spending data indicated little change as well.

On the S&P 500, tech shares provided the greatest downward pressure, with Electronic Arts (EA) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) leading the way down. On the other end, Salesforce.com (CRM) bucked the trend on an impressive Q2 earnings report, ending the day over 12 percent higher, with shares trading at $49 by the closing bell.

The Dow saw most components in the red, with Alcoa ($AA), UnitedHealth Group (UNH) , and Boeing (BA) leading the way down.

Tech shares fell on the NASDAQ as well, with Facebook (FB) , and Microsoft (MSFT) , and OmniVision Technologies (OVTI) being among a number of the days tech losers.

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