S&P 500 Snaps Four-Month Winning Streak in April
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The Dow eked out a slight monthly gain for April, the seventh in a row for the blue-chip index. However, the broader S&P 500 and Nasdaq both capped the month in the red.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14.7 points, or 0.11%, to 13214, the S&P 500 dipped 5.5 points, or 0.39%, to 1398 and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 22.8 points, or 0.74%, to 3046.
For the month, the Dow was up less than two points, but it was enough to secure the longest winning streak since January 2007. Over the past seven months, the blue chips have tacked on some 21.1%.
The broader S&P 500, meanwhile, snapped a four-month winning streak, falling 0.75% in the worst monthly showing since September. The technology-heavy Nasdaq struggled most of the major market indexes, shedding 1.5% over the course of the month.
The telecommunications sector surged 4.2% over the course of the month, the best performance of any of the major sectors, according to data compiled by FOX Business. Utilities and consumer discretionary stocks posted solid gains as well.
On the other side of the spectrum, financial and information technology companies fell by the widest margin.
The American economy is expected to come squarely into focus this week with important reports on tap daily and the closely-watched monthly employment report due on Friday.
Consumer spending rose 0.3% in March from February, the Commerce Department reported, slightly shy of the 0.4% gain economists expected. Meanwhile, personal income climbed 0.4% for the month, a slightly bigger gain than the 0.3% that was expected. The report also showed consumers' saving rate ticking up by 0.1-percentage point to 3.8%.
Recent data, including last week's first-quarter GDP report, have shown that the consumer sector has remained robust even as the economy has expanded slowly and the jobs market has remained tight.
The Chicago Purchasing Management Index fell to 56.2 in April from 62.2 in March, the lowest level since November 2009. The index that measures manufacturing activity in the Midwest region was expected to drop to 61. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below point to contraction.
The more closely-followed national manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management is on tap for Tuesday.
There are also two notable market holidays this week: Japanese markets are closed on Monday, while European exchanges are closed on Tuesday. In a note to clients, analysts at Nomura called the light trading schedule a "recipe for low liquidity volatility," meaning trading may be particularly choppy.
In corporate news, Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) revealed a deal in which Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will invest $300 million in a new digital publishing subsidiary. The entity will be worth $1.7 billion, the companies said in a release. The bookseller will own a an 82.4% stake, with Micorosft owning the rest. Barnes & Noble shares nearly doubled in early trade.
Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) also unveiled plans to buy Sunoco (NYSE:SUN) for $5.3 billion in a cash and stock deal. The two energy companies said the tie-up will "create one of the largest and most diversified energy partnerships in the country."
On the European front, Spain officially double dipped into recession territory, with the country's economy contracting 0.3% in the first quarter, slightly better than consensus estimates of a 0.4% drop. Standard & Poor's also cut its rating on 11 Spanish banks on Monday after cutting the country's sovereign debt ratings down by two notches to BBB+ last week.
Commodities were mostly to the downside. Crude oil traded in New York fell 6 cents, or 0.06%, to $104.87 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline dipped 0.63% to $3.12 a gallon.
In metals, gold was little changed at $1,664 a troy ounce.
European blue chips fell 1.6%, the English FTSE 100 slid 0.68% to 5738 and the German DAX skidded 0.59% to 6761.
In Asia, the Chinese Hang Seng soared 1.7% to 21094.