New York markets lower at early afternoon

| November 30, 2006 | 0 Comments

The New York equities markets were lower in early afternoon trade on Thursday after the Chicago Purchasing Manager’s index showed regional manufacturing in the Midwest was at 49.9 in November, a drop from October’s reading of 53.5. It was the first time since April 2003 that the Chicago index had come in below 50, the level at which manufacturing is said to be contracting rather than expanding. Some analysts were afraid that the new data was an indicator of what the nationwide purchasing managers numbers will say when the Institute for Supply Management releases its new figures on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.28 percent lower by early afternoon in New York to 12,193.01, while the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 0.08 percent to 2,430.18 and the S&P 500 was 0.07 percent lower to 1,398.50.

Other factors in the decline were higher oil prices, a weaker dollar, and more new unemployment claims filed last week than had been expected. The good news was that, according to the US Commerce Department, consumer spending was up 0.2 percent in October after having fallen in September. That news was tempered, however, by an announcement from Wal-Mart that it expects its same-store sales to be even to only 1 percent higher in December. That news sent shares in the discount retailer 78 cents lower to $46.11.

Elsewhere in the retail sector, Gap Inc. dropped 2.5 percent to $18.59 on a bigger decline in same-store sales in November than had been expected. Meanwhile, Abercrombie & Fitch fell 3.4 percent to $67.21.

In the pharmaceuticals sector, Pfizer added 49 cents to $27.56 after it said that it has a number of products that would enter the end stages of the development process in the next few years. It also increased its forecast for profits for the full year.

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