U.S. stocks started December off with a bang, jumping at the open to nearly the highest level in a month but faltered as the session continued as a poor set of data from the manufacturing sector and continued worries about the fiscal cliff offset some positive data out of China. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% and the NASDAQ 0.3%.
- U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted to 49.5 in November, according to the Institute for Supply Management, dropping to the lowest level in nearly three years. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 51.3. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in the sector.
- Construction spending rose 1.4% in October from September. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5% gain.
Crude oil added 0.2% to $89.09. Gold gained 0.5% to $1721.10 while silver advanced 1.4% to $33.76.
The FTSE 100 in London gained less than 0.1%. The DAX in Germany added 0.4% while France's CAC 40 added 0.3%.
- Euro-zone manufacturing activity contracted for the ninth consecutive month in November, albeit at a slower pace than in October. Markit's Eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 46.2 in November from October's 45.4, though it stayed below the 50 mark dividing growth from contraction for the 16th straight month.
Japan gained 0.1% while China dropped 1%.
- In China, the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Survey (PMI) rose to 50.5 in November from 49.5 in October, in line with a preliminary survey published late last month. It was the first time since October 2011 that the survey crossed above 50 points, the line that demarcates accelerating from slowing growth.