Stock prices trade flat as manufacturing softens
New York • A report of slowing manufacturing is getting the stock market off to weak start Wednesday.
News that Europe's economic slump dragged France into a recession also weighed on markets.
A half-hour after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 30 points at 15,186, down 0.1 percent.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell two points to 1,648, also down 0.1 percent. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at all-time highs on Tuesday.
The Nasdaq composite rose three points to 3,465.
U.S. factories cut back sharply on production in April, as automakers produced fewer cars and most other industries scaled back. The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that manufacturing output dropped 0.4 percent in April from March, the third drop in four months and the biggest since October.
Macy's rose 2 percent, or 90 cents, to $48.31 after reporting a 20 percent profit increase. The department-store chain also raised its quarterly dividend by a nickel to 25 cents and announced plans to buy an additional $1.5 billion of its own stock.
Deere & Co. slumped 4 percent. The maker of farm and construction equipment reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations, but it warned that cool spring temperatures and tepid demand for construction equipment will hinder sales growth this year.
In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank to 1.92 percent from 1.98 percent late Tuesday. Traders bought Treasurys, pushing yields down, as they shifted money into lower-risk assets.
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