U.S. stocks declined on Monday, with the Nasdaq Composite falling for the first session in seven, as a lackluster start to the holiday shopping season mostly overrode data that had a measure of U.S. factory activity slowing less than expected in November.
“The Black Friday retail sales looked a little punkish,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
The fall in Apple‘s shares “may be some evidence of concern of a weak start of what was expected to be a pretty good holiday season on the back of the gas price tax cut,” said Luschini.
Traders said there was talk that investment-management company Vanguard had sold a stake in the consumer technology company. Vanguard declined comment.
Stocks cut their losses after the Institute for Supply Management said its national factory activity index dropped to 58.7 last month from 59 in October, with the latest figure beating expectations of 57.8.
“This at least for the moment stemmed that pattern, which is good,” said Luschini, referring to a handful of regional reports last week that pointed to a weakening in manufacturing activity.
Americans spent about 11 percent less during the long holiday weekend ahead of Cyber Monday’s online sales, according to survey results released Sunday by the National Retail Federation.
Markit’s final November manufacturing Purchasing managers’ Index for the euro zone was 50.1, its lowest level since June 2013.
China’s official factory index dropped to 50.3 for November, while the Markit index had it at 50.
Caterpillar leads blue-chip losses
The S&P 500 fell 14.12 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,053.44, with industrials the poorest performing and energy faring the best of 10 major industry groups.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of investor uncertainty, rose 7.2 percent to 14.29.
Halting a six-session win streak, its longest since April, the Nasdaq declined 64.28 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,727.35.
For every share gaining, more than three fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 877 million shares traded. Composite volume approached 4.2 billion.