The market had a choppy first session of 2019, with stocks clawing back from early losses to end Wednesday with gains. The S&P 500 just squeaked out of the red at the end of the session with gains of 0.13% (3.18 points). The Nasdaq rose 0.46% (30.66 points), and the Dow was just barely in the green as it saw gains of 0.08% (18.78 points).
Individual components of the Dow were a mixed basket, with some seeing significant gains and others seeing losses. Goldman Sachs (GS) saw the biggest change today with an increase of 2.98%. Exxon Mobil (XOM) also did well with gains of 2.20%. United Health Group (UNH) wasn’t as fortunate with losses of 2.26%.
Apart from the Dow, Seattle-based biotech firm, Atossa Genetics (ATOS) had a stellar day with an increase of 11.76%.
This morning’s tumble was in large part a reaction to reports of weakening manufacturing conditions in China. The Caixin Index’s December reading dropped to 49.7 meaning that their had been a contraction activity for the manufacturing sector – the first since May 2017. The US’s manufacturing also declined with the IHS Markit’s index showing a drop for December from November’s 53.9 to 53.8.
Chris Williamson, with IHS Market, stated, “Some of the weakness is due to capacity constraints, with producers again reporting widespread difficulties in finding suitable staff and sourcing sufficient quantities of inputs. However, the survey also revealed signs of slower demand growth from customers, as well as rising concerns over the impact of tariffs.”
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