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Stocks dip after manufacturing growth slows

Updated: April 1, 2013 3:30PM



NEW YORK —Stocks are opening April on a weak note, ending slightly lower after an industry group reported that U.S. manufacturing growth cooled in March.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell five points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 14,572 Monday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 gave up seven points, 0.5 percent, to 1,562. The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high last week, beating the record it set in October 2007.

The Nasdaq composite fell 28 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,239.

The Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing grew for the fourth straight month in March, but at a slower rate. Industrial stocks fell the most in the S&P.

Two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was low at 2.7 billion shares.

As stocks have climbed this year, so have investor expectations for economic reports, said JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade.

“The numbers have to be outstanding in order to drive the market higher,” said Kinahan. “It’s a different mindset when we’re at these levels.”

Industrial companies led declines for the S&P 500, dropping 1 percent. 3M, which makes Post-it notes, industrial products and construction materials, fell 66 cents to $105.6. Caterpillar, a maker of construction and mining equipment, dropped $1.23 to $85.73.

Gains for stocks this year have been driven by optimism that the housing market is recovering and employers and starting to hire again. Strong company earnings and continuing stimulus from the Federal Reserve have also increased demand for stocks.

EBay rose $1.95 to $56.16. The company said late Friday that it expects revenue and profit to keep heading higher in the coming years as its e-commerce business and fast-growing PayPal payments service continue to expand.

Brewer Molson Coors, which counts Coors and Miller Lite among its beers, rose $2.34 to $51.28 after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating on the stock to “Buy” from “Neutral,” citing a better outlook for beer sales as the economy improves.

The new month should give investors cause for optimism.

April is historically the second-strongest month for stocks, Deutsche Bank said in report today. The S&P 500 has gained an average of 1.4 percent in April, based on returns since 1960, making it the second strongest month after December.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, fell to 1.84 percent from 1.85 percent.

Markets were closed in observance of Good Friday last week. European markets were closed Monday for Easter.

Among other stocks making big moves;

— Tesla Motors jumped $8.06 to $45.95 after the electric car company said sales are running ahead of schedule. The Palo Alto, Calif., company said Sunday night that first-quarter sales have exceeded 4,750 Model S sedans, above prior guidance of 4,500.

— DFC Global, a finance company that provides loans to consumers without bank accounts, fell $3.08 to $13.56 after it slashed its earnings outlook for its fiscal year.

— American Greetings rose $1.95 to $18.05 after the company agreed to be taken private for about $602 million by a group led by some of its top executives.



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