U.S. stocks open lower once again as investors fretted over expectations that economic data would continue to cast a bleak light on the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48 points to 9,961. The S&P 500 Index shed 5 points to 1,043. The Nasdaq Composite declined 12 points to 2,107. The economic data is leading this market lower. The financials keep making new 52 week lows every day due to disappointing housing data. FDIC raised the number of trouble banks. The valuations for the financials remain attractive as indicated by an analyst at Collins Stewart, but unfortunately they can remain cheap for a while. Elsewhere, Monsanto is down 4.5% after lowering guidance. After the first half an hour the averages perked up a little. Better than expected manufacturing and consumer confidence numbers caused the shorts to cover. The averages actually moved into the green after the first hour, but not by much. Two commodity plays Cleveland Cliffs and Freeport McMoran are jumping 3%. Rio Tinto is up 3% on an upgrade. Go figure. Heinz is up a percent after raising guidance. The retailers in general are performing well thanks in part to the consumer confidence number. DSW is up 2% thanks to better than expected earnings. Tiffany's is higher thanks to an upgrade. Deere is higher after selling their wind turbine division for $900 million. Not bad. Saks is jumping 23% due to takeover rumors. More acquisitions keep getting announced. 3M and Google are making small acquisitions. Lions Gate is jumping 12% after Carl Icahn upped his bid. Maybe we'll have a little good news to end the month. Through the morning the Dow remained in the green thanks to the financials for once. The commodities look good. The techs are mixed. One stock that can't get out of its own way is Research in Motion at a new 52 week low. The stock is trading for 7 times earnings. Something is wrong here. In the afternoon the Dow remained in the green, the Nasdaq pretty much unchanged. Gold closed higher for the day and the month. The Fed minutes out at 2 o'clock sent the averages back to the unchanged level. Banks and commodities remain modestly remain in the green. Entering the last hour the averages were solidly in the red, but thankfully recovered into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 4 points at 10,014. The S&P 500 index gained 41 cents to 1,049 helped by the telecoms sector, up 1.1%, also the best performing sector in August, up 2.3% for the month. One the worst performing sectors, the financials, dropped 7.9% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite declined 5 points to 2,114 on Tuesday. The Dow industrials, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all posted their first down August in five years and saw their worst August since 2001.
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