Stock market slides lower

Investors focus on risk of government shutdown


FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, file photo, traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. World stocks drifted on Friday Sept. 27, 2013, with markets in China edging slightly higher as investors stayed cautious ahead of a major holiday and details from the highly anticipated unveiling of a free trade zone in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)


NEW YORK  — Stocks fell today as investors focused on the risk of a U.S. government shutdown down next week.

The uncertainty has pushed down stocks all week. Unless the market turns around, today would be the sixth trading day of the past seven with declines for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Dow Jones industrial average.

Still, the indexes are down only about 1 percent for the week, and the S&P 500 is just 2 percent below its record high set Sept. 18.

The Dow fell 63 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,266 as of 1:20 p.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index fell six points to 1,693. The Nasdaq composite was down slightly at 3,786.

Two financial deadlines loom for the U.S. government. Congress needs to pass a funding bill to keep the government operating after Oct. 1, when its new fiscal year starts. And the government is expected to reach its debt ceiling around Oct. 17.

Investors are also dealing with mixed economic signals.

Today, a government report showed that incomes and consumer spending grew slightly last month. The increases suggest anemic growth that is not strong enough to accelerate the economic recovery.

A University of Michigan survey showed that consumer confidence declined this month as Americans worried about the possible government shutdown and their own finances. The survey also found that half of households expect no pay increase in the year ahead.

The Federal Reserve’s view last week that the economy is still weak is scaring people, said Frank Fantozzi, CEO of Planned Financial Services.

“If you keep saying things are bad, even if things are good, people are going to believe they’re bad, and they’re going to act accordingly,” he said.

Eight out of 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 index fell, led by industrial stocks. Health care and consumer discretionary stocks had small gains.

Among big stock movers:

Lumber Liquidators dropped $11.13, or 10 percent, to $101.80 after disclosing that federal authorities searched its corporate offices in an action related to imports of some wood flooring products.

J.C. Penney Co. shares slid $1.03 cents, or 10 percent, to $9.39 after the struggling retailer said it would raise about $811 million through a stock offering. The stock fell because investors are anticipating that their stake in the company will shrink after the pool of shares grows.

United Continental Holdings Inc. fell $2.28, or 6.7 percent, to $31.79 after it projected third-quarter revenue below Wall Street’s expectations.

Nike shares jumped $3.71, or 5 percent, to $74.05 after the shoe and apparel company reported a quarterly profit that was higher than financial analysts expected.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.62 percent, from 2.64 percent on Thursday.