U.S. stocks start the last day of the month to the downside in the wake of a sharp decline in Chinese equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68 points to 9,475. The S&P 500 Index declined 9 points to 1,019 while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 17 points to 2,011. A couple of mergers to start the day. Mickey Mouse is buying Spiderman or Disney is buying Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. Marvel is jumping 26%. The competitors are also performing well like Dreamworks up 6%. In the oil patch, Baker Hughes is buying BJ Services. BJ is up 7% and Baker Hughes is down 7%. Besides the two mergers, not much is going on. The financials are lower. Morgan Stanley received a downgrade. UBS is modestly lower on news a company called Capital Group has acquired a 4% stake in the bank. Plenty of positive news in the tech sector doesn't seem to be helping. Intel and Texas Instruments were upgraded, but the stocks are lower. Marvell Tech and VMware both won new business contracts, but both are lower. Sun Micro is unchanged on earnings. In the retail sector Ethan Allen, Pier One, and William Sonoma were all upgraded, but only Ethan Allen is higher. Activision Blizzard is modestly lower on a positive piece in Barrons. A better than expected manufacturing number actually had the reverse effect, sending the averages lower. The Dow dropped 100 points. The Nasdaq declined 25 points. Through the morning and into the afternoon, the averages remained weak, but off the lows, and quiet. It's the last week of the summer. In the last hour, in the last few minutes, the averages were able to recover half the losses for the day. Not bad. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47 points to end at 9,496. The Dow finished up 3.5% for the month. The S&P 500 Index declined 8 points to stand at 1,020, leaving it with a 3.4% advance for August. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 19 points, or 1%, to rest at 2,009, a level that leaves the technology-laden index with a 1.5% monthly gain.
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