Fresh manufacturing data showed a sharp drop in new orders, back to mid-2009 levels. Europe's own debt crisis hit another bump. HSBC, the giant global banking company, added to the latest in a series of large-scale corporate layoffs as companies joined many analysts in beginning to downgrade economic forecasts after Friday's report of sputtering growth in the first half of this year.
"Double dip is back on the agenda," said David Ader, head of government bond strategy at CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn., reacting to the disappointing report on American manufacturing in July.
More bad news on unemployment and jobs is expected this Friday, adding to renewed fears that the economy could slide back into recession.
Indeed, despite the much ballyhooed political compromise that ended the debt-limit standoff, it was hard to find any substantial reason to hope the picture will get brighter in the months and years to come.
The deal put off serious cutbacks in federal spending in the early part of this decade to avoid draining dollars from the nation's stalling economy, and it could help the economic growth a bit if businesses feel more confident as some firms reportedly had been stockpiling cash in the event of a default.
But such potential gain is likely to be small, swamped by fundamental weaknesses in the economy that include a depressed housing market and, now, a pullback by one of the few players that had been driving the economy forward - Uncle Sam.
What's missing in the budget deal is a game plan to spur growth and jobs, said Kathy Bostjancic, an economist at the Conference Board, a business membership-supported research group.
Bostjancic says the budget agreement is positive, but she doesn't think it will do a whole lot to push companies to invest the $2 trillion in cash they have been sitting on.
"There's no timetable that suggests they have to do something with the cash," she said. "What's going to be the catalyst for growth?"