By Markus Heitkoetter
￼Stocks ended the first trading day of August lower.
If there was anything positive to today’s loss, it’s that things could have been worse. After making session lows in the afternoon, stocks pushed higher and erased half of the drop that was experienced in early trading.
The S&P ended the day 6 points lower. With a 0.28% drop, the S&P ended the day at 2098.04. The S&P closed below its 50-day moving average, a technical indicator that some traders watch to get a feel for the direction of the market.
The DOW lost 92 points today. With a 0.52% loss, the DOW closed at 17598.20.
The NASDAQ had the smallest decline out of the major indices with a .25% loss. The NASDAQ finished at 5115.38 after losing 13 points.
Today there were plenty of reasons to be bearish. Here were the biggest concerns driving markets lower:
1) China – Last week China’s troubles were put on the backburner. But the second largest stock market in the world isn’t out of the woods yet. With selling continuing, the Shanghai Composite lost another 1.1% today. Chinese markets have lost 4 trillion in market value since mid-June.
In an effort to combat selling and the recent volatility, today China announced a rule change that puts extra pressure on day traders that want to sell stocks short. With the new rule, short sellers must hold positions for one day (overnight) before closing a position. Chinese regulators are hoping that forcing day traders to hold short positions overnight will reduce the impact of short selling.
2) Greece – Today the Athens Stock Exchange re-opened…and it wasn’t pretty. The Athens Stock Exchange General Index lost 16% after being down as much as 23%. As you might expect bank stocks were hit the worst. The National Bank of Greece dropped 30% (the maximum daily drop allowed by the exchange).
It just keeps getting worse and worse for Crude Oil (CL). Crude Oil lost another 3.86% and ended the day at $45.30 a barrel.
Economic reports in the U.S. were mixed today. Although Personal Spending increased for the 2nd consecutive month, ISM Manufacturing PMI was leaked early and came out worst than expected at a 3 month low.
Looking ahead to tomorrow traders have Factory Orders at 10:00am to consider.