Stocks were down today:
▼ Dow: -0.46 percent
▼ Nasdaq: -0.27 percent
▼ S&P: -0.47 percent
▲ Gold: +0.05 percent to $1,715.40 an ounce
▲ Silver: +0.49 percent to settle at $33.62
▲ Oil: +0.12 percent
Markets were down because:
Stocks edged lower on Wall Street Monday after a weak manufacturing report heightened concern that fiscal deadlock in Washington is already hurting the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 59.98 points to close at 12,965.60. The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 6.72 points to 1,409.46. The Nasdaq composite was down 8.04 points to 3,002.20
U.S. manufacturing declined in November to its weakest level since July 2009, the Institute for Supply Management reported. The ISM's index fell to 49.5 from 51.7 a month earlier, below the 51.2 reading forecast by analysts. Any number below 50 on the scale means that manufacturing is contracting. Businesses expressed concerns about the "fiscal cliff," a series of sharp government spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to start Jan. 1 unless an agreement is reached to cut the budget deficit.
The White House and Congress are still seeking to hammer out a budget deal that will avoid the "cliff." Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, have balked at President Barack Obama's opening proposal of $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade, a possible extension of the temporary Social Security payroll tax cut and heightened presidential power to raise the national debt limit.
House Republicans on Monday proposed their own 10-year blueprint to President Barack Obama that calls for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare and lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits.
Stocks have fluctuated since the Nov. 6 election as investors worried that a deal may not be reached in time to avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts, which economists say could push the U.S. back into recession. The S&P 500 is still 1.3 percent below its closing level on the day that Americans went to the polls, having fallen as much as 5 percent in the weeks following the election.
Wall Street opened higher Monday following news that manufacturing in China, the world's second-largest economy, grew for the first time in 13 months and after Greece announced details of a bond buyback program. The Dow had been up as much as 62 points shortly after the opening bell.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 1 basis point to 1.62 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.