Stocks Closed Down on Weak Service Sector Data

U.S. stocks closed lower on Monday, after data showed that the U.S. services sector grew at a weaker-than-expected pace in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 44.89 points, or 0.27%, to 16,425.10. The S&P 500 dropped 4.60 points, or 0.25%, to 1,826.77, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 18.22 points, or 0.44%, to 4,113.68.

Two measures of activity in the U.S. services sector showed slower growth in December, pointing to an economy that continues to expand at a modest pace, while factory orders rose in November. ISM’s index fell to 53 last month from 53.9 in November, dropping to its lowest reading since June 2013 and under expectations for a read of 54.5. A separate report from the Commerce Department showed new orders for factory goods rebounded in November, rising 1.8 percent, as had been forecast.

The Senate appeared ready Monday to confirm Janet Yellen as the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, elevating an advocate of fighting unemployment and a backer of the central bank’s efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and massive bond purchases.

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