Monthly declines for US stock indices

It’s a down day to conclude a weak month for the US stock market.

If you’re looking for an optimistic slant, things didn’t end up as ugly on Wall Street as they had been looking earlier in the day.

All three leading stock index benchmarks managed to clamber back up an impressive amount from the lows of the day, with the  NASDAQ 100 faring the best, losing just 0.28% by late in the session. With around 20 minutes to the closing bell, the Dow Jones was down 0.75% or 120 points and the S&P 500 was off by 0.48%.

Despite a couple of bounces this week, the overall character of trading has been negative dating back pretty much for the whole month and it leaves the Dow heading into its first monthly loss since last summer, off more than 5% for January. Earnings have been positive on the whole, but evidently not strong enough to turn the tide of negative sentiment resulting from the influence of what is going on with emerging-market currencies. Over the longer term, I would expect the fortitude of the US economy to provide enough stability to steady the ship.

We have some major economic data out next week, starting with the two most widely-followed manufacturing indicators: the ISM manufacturing index and Markit’s PMI manufacturing index. The non-manufacturing index from the ISM follows mid-week and next Friday we will have the highly important employment situation report. 

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