New York Report: US stocks down as metals slide

US STOCKS closed lower last night, with investors unable to keep pushing shares higher after eight straight weeks of gains, while the mining sector slid alongside sharp drops in precious metals prices.

Positive economic data supported stocks, however. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity lifted in November to its peak since April 2011. The pace of hiring in the sector also rose. Construction spending was up 0.8 per cent in October, the highest since May 2009.

Yet mining companies’ shares fell in sync with a slide in precious metal prices. Gold dropped 2.6 per cent. Silver tumbled 4.2 per cent.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 77.64 points, or 0.48 per cent, to end at 16,008.77. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 4.91 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 1,800.90. The Nasdaq fell 14.63 points, or 0.36 per cent, to close at 4,045.26.