Stocks slowly fell into the red today in the wake of a huge amount of economic data from around the world.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 12,965, -59.9, -0.4 percent
S&P 500: 1,409, -6.7, -0.4 percent
NASDAQ: 3,002, -8.0, -0.2 percent
And now the top stories:
- Major economic reports were released all around the world to kick off the first trading day of the month.
- Overall, the data out of Asia was strong. China's official and unofficial HSBC manufacturing PMI reports all increased and signaled growth was accelerating again in the world's second largest economy. South Korean export data also beat expectations, confirming the bullish signals out of China. For the most part, the BRICs are looking good.
- In Europe, the eurozone manufacturing PMI climbed to its best level in eight months, thanks to improvements Germany, France, and Spain. Italy's PMI fell, but UK's PMI jumped. Ultimately, the message is that Europe doesn't seem to be getting too much worse.
- In the US, PMI unexpectedly climbed to 52.8 from the preliminary reading of 52.4. Economists were expecting the measure to fall to 52.1. However, the more closely followed ISM manufacturing index plunged to 49.5, signaling contraction. Economists were expecting a reading of 51.4.
- For much of the year, the global economic story was that the U.S. was able to maintain growth as Europe struggled and emerging Asia slowed. Today's data seems to be a reversal of that trend. SocGen's Kit Juckes writes: "The 'tail risk' of an imminent hard landing for the Chinese economy is fading, just as the conclusion of the latest Greek drama means that risk of a return to full-blown Euro Zone crisis is fading. So, two of three major risks are reduced, leaving only the dreaded 'fiscal cliff' to worry about."
- On the fiscal cliff, Republicans made their first counteroffer. Their terms include $800 billion in new tax revenues through the closing of loopholes and deductions, cutting of $900 billion in mandatory spending, and cutting $300 billion in discretionary spending.
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