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[video] No-So-Happy Holiday Spending Tempers Stocks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Markets closed lower Monday as a slow kickoff to the holiday shopping season offset a strong uptick in manufacturing activity.

  • The S&P 500 lost 0.27% to 1,800.88 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) dropped 0.48% to 16,008.64. The Nasdaq (CCMP) declined 0.36% to 4,045.26.
  • Retailers were mixed as Amazon  (AMZN) slipped while eBay  (EBAY) surged on the day forever to be known as Cyber Monday, reportedly the busiest time of the year for online shopping. Amazon was off 0.05% to $393.25 while eBay rose 3.3% to $51.70. The Gap  (GPS) was up 2.5% to $41.98 while Groupon (GRPN) was 4.8% lower after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to neutral from buy.
U.S. manufacturing activity expanded to 57.3 in November, beating expectations for a result of 55, according to the Institute for Supply Management. U.K. manufacturing expanded at its fastest rate in nearly three years during November, rising to 58.4.

Some observations:

  • "That manufacturing number was really astounding," Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING U.S. Investment Management, said in a phone interview. "The ISM manufacturing report blew away expectations ... driven by all the underlying strong new orders, strong employment."
  • "We are at the beginning of what has historically been the strongest calendar month for stocks," Todd Salamone, Shaeffer's Investment Research senior vice president of research told clients in a note. In earnings, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Thor Industries and Shoe Carnival are all due to release quarterly results today.
U.S. developers hiked construction spending in October at the fastest pace in more than four years, due to a jump in public building projects. Construction spending increased 0.8 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $908.4 billion, the Commerce Department said Monday.

It's a heavy week for economic releases with the November government jobs report out Friday after jobless claims and GDP on Thursday. The consensus forecast is for a creation of 185,000 jobs, down from 204,000 the prior month. 

Overseas markets including Germany and the U.K. were weak after the eurozone Purchasing Managers' Index indicated that business activity declined in France and Spain last month.

The Shanghai Composite also fell even after the HSBC November PMI came in at 50.8, remaining in expansionary territory and up from the flash estimate of 50.4. That headline was offset by concerns that China's decision to put an end to a 14-month ban on IPOs might results in a sharp depletion of liquidity from currently-listed stocks.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.84%, while Germany's DAX closed off 0.04%. The Hang Seng closed up 0.66% while the Shanghai Composite closed down 0.59%.

--By Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York

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