Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stocks in U.S. Drop as Confidence Data Drags S&P 500 Down From Month High

U.S. stocks fell, dragging the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down from a four-week high, after consumer confidence sank to the lowest level since April 2009.

The S&P 500 decreased 0.8 percent to 1,200.44 at 10 a.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge for American equities rose to the highest level since Aug. 3 yesterday after surging 7.7 percent in six days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 74.89 points, or 0.7 percent, to 11,464.36 today.

The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence slumped to 44.5, the weakest since April 2009, from a revised 59.2 reading in July, figures from the research group showed today. It was the biggest point drop since October 2008. Economists predicted the August gauge would fall to 52, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

The S&P 500 fell 10 percent through yesterday since July 22 as better-than-estimated reports last week on durable-goods orders and housing prices contrasted with data this month on jobless claims, consumer confidence and manufacturing that spurred concern the U.S. is poised for a recession. Gauges of financial, industrial and energy shares, which are most-tied to the economy, have led declines since the index peaked in 2011 on April 29, slumping at least 16 percent.

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