US stocks started the fourth quarter with a slight drop and the British pound tanked.
The pound fell to a seven-week low against the dollar after British Prime Minister Theresa May said Article 50 – the legal process to leave the European Union – will be triggered before the end of March 2017.
Brent crude oil, the international price benchmark, climbed above $50 per barrel for the first time since early September.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow: 18,253.85, -54.30 (-0.30%) S&P 500: 2,161.20, -7.07, (-0.33%) Nasdaq: 5,300.87, -11.13, (-0.21%)
US manufacturing bounced back from contraction in September. The Institute of Supply Management’s purchasing manager’s index (PMI) for the sector was 51.5, up from a contractionary reading of 49.4 in August. The report reassured economists that last month’s slump in activity was probably temporary. US auto sales rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 17.76 million in September, more than expected. That was partly because carmakers offered a record $3,923 in incentives per vehicle in September, according to Bloomberg. Hunting, fishing, and camping retailer Bass Pro Shops is buying Cabela’s for $5.5 billion. Bass Pro obtained $1.8 billion in financing from Goldman’s merchant-banking division and $600 million from Pamplona Capital Management. The companies are expected to close the deal in the first half of next year. China’s yuan is officially in the IMF’s basket of reserve currencies. On Saturday, the Chinese currency was added to the IMF’s special drawing rights (SDR) basket, joining the US dollar, the euro, the yen, and the British pound.