U.S. stocks closed with modest losses Monday as weaker than expected U.S. economic data and news that Spain officially re-entered recession hit markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% and NASDAQ 0.7%.
- Spending by Americans rose 0.3% in March, just one-third the increase in February. Personal incomes rose 0.4% but after-tax income rose just 0.6% in the first three months of 2012 compared with a year earlier. That was the smallest gain in two years.
- The savings rate edged up to 3.8% in March, after dropping to a 30-month low of 3.7% of after-tax income in February.
- The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's business barometer fell to 56.2 in April from last month's 62.2, hitting a 29-month low and missing economists' forecasts. A reading above 50.0 reflects expansion in the economy.
Gold fell 60 cents to end at $1,664.20 per ounce, while silver dropped 38.8 cents to $30.959 an ounce. Crude oil fell 6 cents to end at $104.87 per barrel.
British shares fell 0.7%, German shares 0.6%, and French shares 1.6%.
- In Spain, the government said that the country has fallen back into a recession after its economy shrank 0.3% in the first quarter.
- Inflation in the 17 countries that use the euro fell to an annual rate of 2.6% in April, down from 2.7% in March but higher than the 2.5% expected by market analysts.
- The European Central Bank reported that loans to the private sector rose by a meager 0.6% in March from a year ago.
Both Japan and China were closed for holiday.