NEW YORK - Wall Street pulled back again yesterday in muted trading ahead of the holiday, as another round of reports showed further deterioration in the housing market and broader economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished lower for the fifth straight session, falling 100 points.
Tuesday's gloomy data were hardly surprising to jaded investors. And trading volume has been light this week, which tends to skew the market's movements.
"It is a very quiet news week, and much of it has already been priced into the market," said Ryan Larson, head of equity trading at Voyageur Asset Management L.L.C.
Yesterday's reports offered Wall Street no reason to be upbeat, however, and the concern remains that the economy will keep weakening well into the new year. That anxiety is sapping the hope for a year-end rally in the Dow, which is down 36.5 percent since 2008 began.
The Dow Jones industrial average shed 100.28, or 1.18 percent, to 8,419.49. The Dow is well off the multiyear lows it tumbled to in mid-November, but it is still down more than 400 points, or 4.6 percent, so far for the month of December. Typically, December is one of the best months for the stock market.
Broader indexes also declined. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.47, or 0.97 percent, to 863.16. The Nasdaq composite index fell 10.81, or 0.71 percent, to 1,521.54. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 6.43, or 1.35 percent, to 468.64.
Government bond prices were narrowly mixed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, was flat at 2.18 percent. The yield on the three-month T-bill, considered one of the safest investments, was unchanged at 0.02 percent from late Monday.
News from corporate America yesterday brought little cheer.
Greeting-card company American Greetings Corp. said it swung to a third-quarter loss, hurt by hefty charges and a decline in sales. Shares fell $3.42, or 34.83 percent, to $6.40.
And the shape of the financial industry continued to shift, as two more companies got government funding.
Credit card lender American Express Co. and commercial financial firm CIT Group Inc. said they each received preliminary approval to obtain billions in funding from the government's $700 billion bank-investment program.
American Express fell 46 cents to close at $17.96, and CIT Group rose 8 cents to close at $4.26.
Oil prices fell on concerns that energy demand is evaporating in the face of a severe global economic slowdown. Light, sweet crude fell 93 cents to settle at $38.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.