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U.S. stocks close lower as construction data disappoints market

2019-03-05 07:00

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NEW YORK, March 4 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended lower on Monday, as investors digested weaker-than-expected U.S. construction spending data in December last year and a batch of healthcare stocks extended losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 206.67 points, or 0.79 percent, to 25,819.65. The S&P 500 decreased 10.88 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,792.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 17.79 points, or 0.23 percent, to 7,577.57.

Shares of Healthcare Services Group plunged more than 13 percent around market close, as the U.S. healthcare insurance company said it failed to file its Form 10-K for 2018 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) due to earnings per share calculation practices problems.

Form 10-K refers to an annual comprehensive summary report of a publicly traded company, which is required to file to the SEC, with much more details than other yearly reports.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond also declined more than 5.3 percent, after British leading investment bank Barclays downgraded the U.S. chain of housewares retail stores from "equal weight" to "underweight."

Six of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded on a downbeat note, with the health care sector down over 1.3 percent, leading the laggards among the groups.

The three major indexes began to lose their morning gains after the latest U.S. monthly construction spending turned up to be unexpectedly below market expectations, fueling concerns over a weakening economic growth since the end of 2018.

On the economic front, U.S. construction spending sank 0.6 percent in December 2018, with year-on-year growth falling to 1.6 percent, the weakest growth rate in at least three years, the U.S. Census Bureau said Monday.

The unexpected drop came following a 0.8 percent increase in November, as spending in private residential construction declined 1.4 percent in the month.
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