Investors hoping that a change in the calendar to September would mark a fresh beginning were disappointed today, when stocks again fell sharply over worries about China’s economic growth. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 470 points, while the NASDAQ gave back 140 points and the S&P 500 dropped 58. Not surprisingly, the number of declining issues swamped gainers.
Manufacturing activity slowed its rate of growth in August, according to the Institute for Supply Management, an Arizona-based trade group. On point, the group's survey on industrial activity came in with a score of 51.1 for last month. That was modestly above the dividing line of 50.0, which separates a growing manufacturing sector from one that is contracting.
As anxiety around the world about a slowing global economy rises, with worries about China’s decreasing rate of output at the heart of the concerns, investors received two encouraging reports about the health of the U.S. economy at 10:00 A.M. (EDT). It was a nice one-two combination, as the data highlighted strengthening consumer and housing sectors, which are big kingpins in the country’s economic output.