Fin24

US stocks mixed as manufacturing shrinks

2012-07-03 08:29

New York - US stocks finished mixed on Monday after news that manufacturing contracted for the first time in almost three years in June, raising concerns about a key pillar of the US economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.70 points to finish at 12,871.39.

The S&P 500-stock index advanced 3.35 to 1,365.51, while the tech-rich Nasdaq outperformed, gaining 16.18 to 2,951.23.

Stocks nose-dived after the Institute for Supply Management said its June manufacturing index fell to 49.7%, from May's number of 53.5%.

That was the first time the index has fallen below the 50% breakeven point between contraction and growth since July 2009.

"The strong rally that closed out 2Q on Friday has been thwarted by an unexpected report of contraction in US manufacturing activity," Charles Schwab & Co. analysts said.

But some of the resilience in stocks came from expectations that the ISM data could prompt a third round of Federal Reserve asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, observers said.

"The market thinks that the growing number of weak economic reports for the US in combination with lower inflation numbers may trigger another round of asset purchases by the Federal Reserve(QE3)," Harm Bandholz at UniCredit Research said in a client note.

The mixed action came before Tuesday's half-day of trade ahead of the Independence Day holiday on Wednesday, when financial markets are shuttered.

The shortened week ends Friday with the government's highly anticipated June job growth and unemployment numbers.

Drugs giant Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a $5.3bn deal to buy Amylin Pharmaceuticals; BSM edged up 0.3% and Amylin jumped 8.9%.

Domestic respiratory care company Lincare soared 21.5% after German industrial gas giant Linde reported its acquisition in a $4.6bn deal.

Computer maker Dell fell 1.0% after saying would buy IT management software provider Quest Software for about $2.4bn. Quest closed flat.

Semiconductor maker Micron Technology, up 3.8%, said it would buy Japanese rival Elpida Memory, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year, for $2.5bn.

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline's US-traded shares rose 1.7% after it agreed to pay $3bn to US authorities to settle criminal and civilian charges.

Bond prices rallied. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.58% from 1.66% on Friday, while the 30-year yield dropped to 2.68% from 2.76%.

Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.