Market down in summer lull

Posted: August 31, 2012

NEW YORK - Stocks fell Thursday, with investors too worried about high gas prices and stagnant employment to be impressed by higher consumer spending.

For much of August, with many traders on vacation and a dearth of major economic news, the market has lumbered more than galloped. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 106.77 points to 13,000.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 11.01 to 1,399.48. The Nasdaq composite slid 32.48 to 3,048.71.

The economic news that did surface Thursday was uninspiring to investors.

The government reported that consumer spending rose in July from June, after a flat June and a decline in May. Separately, retailers like Target Corp., Gap Inc. and Macy's Inc. reported higher-than-expected August sales.

But rather than send stocks up, investors instead worried that the gains were only temporary, driven by back-to-school shopping that will soon peter out.

Gas prices and job prospects, which are key when people decide how much to spend, were not encouraging, though.

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