US stocks edge lower as Senate considers rescue plan

October 2nd, 2008 - 6:44 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Oct 2 (DPA) After a topsy-turvy start to the week, US stocks fell only slightly Wednesday as investors awaited the outcome of a Senate vote on the $700-billion rescue plan.Stocks were driven down by reports that car sales and manufacturing fell sharply in the last month - signs that the availability of credit was tightening across the country.

The Senate was to vote late Wednesday on an amended version of the massive financial rescue package, which failed to pass the lower House of Representatives Monday. Congressional leaders voiced confidence the new bill would be approved.

September auto sales in the US fell 27 percent on average for the six largest automakers compared to the same period last year as consumers struggled to get car loans approved. Ford Motor Co said sales plunged 35 percent, Toyota Motor Corp reported a 32-per-cent drop.

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of manufacturing fell to 43.5, the lowest level since the 2001 recession. Any reading below 50 marks a contraction.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 19.59 points, or 0.18 percent, to 10,831.07. The broad-based Standard and Poor’s 500 was down 5.3 points, or 0.45 percent, to 1,161.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 22.48 points, or 1.07 percent, to 2,069.40.

The House’s failure to pass the rescue package sent stocks to one of their worst trading days ever Monday. The Dow dropped nearly seven percent, but Wall Street rebounded Tuesday on renewed hopes for a deal, with the blue-chip index regaining 4.7 percent.

The US dollar improved against the euro to 71.34 euro cents from 71.05 euro cents Tuesday but fell against the Japanese yen to 105.85 yen from 106.33 yen Tuesday.

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