May 24, 2013
S&P 500 posts biggest monthly gain since October 2011
US stocks edged lower on caution ahead of Friday's all-important jobs report, but the S&P 500 still posted its best monthly gain since October 2011.
The benchmark S&P 500 advanced 5.1 percent in January as investors cheered a compromise that temporarily postponed the impact of the "fiscal cliff" and fourth-quarter earnings were better than expected.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 49.84 points, or 0.36 percent, at 13,860.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.85 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,498.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.18 points, or 0.01 percent, at 3,142.13.
European shares fell for a second straight day, as weak German retail sales and poor earnings at its biggest bank added to investors' nerves after a shock fourth quarter contraction in the US economy.
Data showed US GDP slipped back 0.1 percent, though the country's central bank, the Federal Reserve, indicated the pullback was likely to be brief as it repeated its pledge to continue providing support.
European shares, which have surged 3.7 percent this month, took their biggest daily hit of the year, and a plunge in German retail sales, stagnant French consumer spending and a huge quarterly loss at Deutsche Bank dashed hopes of a quick rebound.
The mood blackened through the morning, leaving London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX down 0.3 to 0.6 percent. The MSCI world share index was down 0.1 percent despite shares in Asia posting modest gains.