Stocks Fall on Manufacturing Data

U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday, as disappointing U.S. factory numbers dampened optimism about China’s economic growth. The Dow industrials finished down 59.98 points, or 0.46%, at 12,965.60, while the S&P 500 Index declined 6.72 points, or 0.47%, to close at 1,409.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 8.04 points, or 0.27%, to finish at 3,002.20.

U.S. manufacturing shrank in November to its weakest level since July 2009. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing conditions fell to a reading of 49.5. That’s down from 51.7 in October.

U.S. builders increased their spending on construction projects in October by the largest amount in five months, led by a surge in housing. The Commerce Department said Monday that construction spending rose 1.4 percent in October. It was the largest gain since a 1.7 percent increase in May.

House Republicans on Monday proposed a new 10-year, $2.2 trillion blueprint to President Barack Obama that calls for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare and lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits.

Fitch Ratings warned in a special outlook on Monday that the impending tax increases and federal spending cuts that make up the U.S. “fiscal cliff” pose the most significant credit risk to states in 2013.

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