It was a rocky first trading day for the fourth quarter, as U.S. stocks closed lower Monday. Investors grappled with lower construction spending, mostly strong auto sales, and better-than-expected manufacturing data. Crude oil increased in price and utilities lagged.
Crude oil prices in the U.S. Monday rose 1.2%, or 57 cents. Oil closed at $48.81 a barrel as Iran's President Hassan Rouhani urged a decision to increase oil prices, Reuters reported.
The S&P 500 was down 0.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3%, and the Nasdaq declined 0.2%. The utilities sector was the laggard on Monday. The Dow Jones Utilities Average Index fell 1.33%.
The ISM manufacturing index for September came in at 51.5, slightly higher than the consensus of 50.2. Construction spending in August declined 0.7% from July, missing expectations. On a year-over-year basis, spending on homebuilding has declined 0.3%. Private construction fell 0.3%, while public construction dropped 2% from July, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Car sales were mixed, with Toyota (TM) - Get Report reporting a sales increase in September of 1.5%. Ford's (F) - Get Report total U.S. sales declined 8% year over year to 204,447, while fleet sales declined 21%, in line with company expectations. However, Ford said "September marked 2016's best month for F-Series' retail sales," with 67,809 vehicles. Ford's stock rose 0.25% while Toyota's ADRs were down 0.69%.
General Motors (GM) - Get Report said sales last month totaled 249,795, down 0.6% from a year earlier. General Motors' shares jumped 0.85%. Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) - Get Report reported U.S. sales fell 0.9%; analysts were expecting a decline of 5.5%. Nissan beat estimates, reporting a 4.9% increase in its automobile sales.
Investors are still reeling with the uncertainty about Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report . Shares of Germany's largest bank fell 0.84% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the bank's talks with the U.S. Justice Department to settle high-profile mortgage-securities cases were moving forward with a smaller settlement than the original $14 billion.
Stephen Guilfoyle, chief market economist at Stuart Frankel, wrote in a note that until a settlement is reached for Deutsche Bank, there will be "plenty of rumor-induced wiggle room for volatility in the equity space until something 'final sounding' hits the tape."
And investors are waiting on the jobs report for September that will be released on Friday. Several Federal Reserve members will speak this week as investors listen for clues as to the rate hike timeline.
"This is 'jobs week,' which is always a priority for U.S. traders," Guilfoyle wrote in the note. "Numbers released Friday, and words spoken on Friday, will move the marketplace, but will be far from the last numbers or words to do so in 2016."
Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report shares rose 4.74% after the electric carmaker said global deliveries of its cars more than doubled in the third quarter to 24,500, compared to a year earlier. It was Tesla's best sales quarter ever.
Gannett's (GCI) - Get Report acquisition of Tronc (TRNC) , which publishes the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun, could be announced as early as Monday, according to a report in Politico.
Bass Pro Shops agreed to buy Cabela's (CAB) in a deal valued at $5.5 billion. Cabela's shares rose 15% in trading on Monday to $63.18. Bass Pro Shops offered to buy Cabela's for $65.50 a share.
Janus Capital (JNS) , the fund management firm, reached a deal to merge with the U.K.'s Henderson (HNDGF) and form a company with assets under management of about $320 billion.
Shares of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (MACK) - Get Report fell 4.9% after President and CEO Robert Mulroy resigned and the company announced a restructuring that will cut 22% of its workforce and reduce costs by $200 million over the next two years.