Investors were in sell mode ahead of the holiday weekend as economic data and news that the United States could lack international support for an intervention in Syria sent stocks lower.
The Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan final reading for its consumer-sentiment index this month rose to 82.1 from an initial August figure of 80.0. The final number beat economists' expectations, but it was still three points lower than the final July tally of 85.1.
Meanwhile, consumer spending and income levels in July each increased slightly by 0.1%, lower than the expected 0.3% gain for spending and 0.2% for incomes. This is a drop-off from the June reading, which showed a 0.6% increase. The weaker July numbers are creating concerns that consumption could weaken in the second half of the year, slowing economic growth. The consumer data led to an increase in Treasuries.
Separately, the Chicago business barometer rose to 53.0 this month from 52.3 in July, but still fell short of expectations.
Stocks on the Move
Apache (APA) announced late Thursday that it will sell a 33% interest in its Egypt oil and gas business to a subsidiary of China Petroleum & Chemical (SNP), better known as Sinopec Group, for $3.1 billion in cash. The transaction is part of a global strategic partnership between Apache and Sinopec that will likely involve additional upstream oil and gas deals in the future. Apache shares were up by 7.2% at midday, while Sinopec's ADR shares were down by 1.1%.
Salesforce.com's (CRM) shares had soared by nearly 14% by midday as the firm, late Thursday, reported a second-quarter profit of $76.6 million compared with a loss of $9.8 million the same time last year, with a tax-valuation allowance helping results. Revenue jumped by 31%, ahead of the company's expectations. The firm also announced a third-quarter outlook that is ahead of Wall Street forecasts.
Kevin O'Shaughnessy does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.