In the past two days, US market indices have generally declined as investors’ discussions appeared to be concerned about new signs of a slowing economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased on Wednesday, sending the two-day decline to 838 points. The Dow has lost 3.1% so far this quarter with erasing gains of about 1.2% from the third quarter.
The decline in the Dow appeared to appear after manufacturing in the US saw its lowest reading in more than 10 years last Tuesday. September’s manufacturing data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) came in at 47.85% – the second consecutive month for the index. Any ISM reading below 50% is known to indicate an economic contraction.
Shortly after the manufacturing slowdown last month, Wednesday’s payroll report showed that the pace of employment is declining as the labor market continues to tighten. Moody’s Analytics said companies hired an additional 135,000 workers in September, a slowdown from 157,000 the previous month. In addition, August figures were revised sharply, with another 195,000 workers already reported during the month.
The economic warning signs come as President Donald Trump faces charges from Democrats demanding the president’s resignation after accusations that he abused his power as president. The possibility of impeachment was negative for US stocks. Although some investors argue that if Trump is removed, there may be a Clinnton-similar rally for stocks.
A major concern for investors is that the impeachment process will undermine trade negotiations, especially with China. Last week, policy analysts in Washington warned clients that an investigation into the impeachment was likely to lead to the United States passing the deal between the states, Mexico and Canada or reaching a decision with Beijing. With the escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies, Wall Street remains concerned that Trump will not be able to reach an agreement that would remove billions of dollars of tariffs from imports.
The S&P 500 moving average fell nearly 50 last Tuesday, a key technical indicator seen by analysts. The Dedicated Investment Group indicated on Wednesday that for the first time in the index’s history, the S&P 500 was scheduled to start in October with some backsliding of more than 1% for all index companies. In addition, a drop of 2.75 per cent would mark the fourth worst start of the fourth quarter of the S&P 500 in its history.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended the third quarter of the calendar year, which was below the levels seen in July, and thus this has been a quick turn of events.