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US stocks drop on weak manufacturing data

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

US stocks retreated Monday, weakened by mediocre manufacturing data and cautious sentiment after last week's record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 5.69 points (0.04 percent) to 14,572.85.

The broad-based S&P 500 gave up 7.02 (0.45 percent) at 1,562.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 28.35 (0.87 percent) to 3,239.17.

The losses, which came after the three-day Easter holiday weekend, followed Friday's record closing highs on the Dow and the S&P 500.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing sector activity index came in at 51.3 in March, below the 54.0 percent expected by analysts.

Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Morgan Securities, said the market was poised for a pause after the record highs.

"It's a little bit of a pullback in an upward trend," James said.

Apple dropped 3.1 percent, dragging down the Nasdaq. Apple chief executive Tim Cook reportedly apologized to Chinese customers in a letter for poor customer service following recent criticism in the Chinese media.

Health insurers gained amid speculation that Medicare payment rates could be advantageous. Humana jumped 8.6 percent, UnitedHealth rose 3.1 percent and Aetna rose 2.4 percent.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors jumped 15.9 percent after announcing that it was boosting its profit forecasts due to stronger-than-expected vehicle sales.

Fresh egg giant Cal-Maine Foods added 0.4 percent after reporting solid fiscal third-quarter earnings and warning of higher feed costs.

Greeting-card manufacturer American Greetings shot up 12.1 percent after announcing a plan to be acquired in an $878 million deal.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals added 0.4 percent after announcing that it would present new clinical research at the International Myeloma Workshop in Kyoto, Japan.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 1.84 percent from 1.85 percent late Thursday, while the 30-year yield was unchanged at 3.09 percent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130401/us-stocks-drop-weak-manufacturing-data-0