Stocks slip on weak factory data

Traders work on the floor of the New Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during afternoon trading on Friday. The National Association of Home Builders releases its survey for September sales on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and the government follows on Wednesday with data on both housing starts and existing home sales. (Sept. 14, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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After surging over four days to near pre-recession highs, stocks slipped Monday following a new sign of a slowdown in the U.S. economy and worries over Europe's struggle to keep its currency union intact.

All three major indexes were down, though barely. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 40.27 points to 13,553.10.

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U.S. stocks are coming off a surge last week that sent the Standard & Poor's 500 index to its highest level in nearly five years. Investors bought stocks on news that the Federal Reserve planned to buy mortgage bonds to get people to borrow and spend more.

Dampening investor spirits Monday was an Empire State Manufacturing Survey suggesting that conditions for New York manufacturers continued to weaken in September. That survey followed news from the Fed on Friday that U.S. industrial production fell in August.

"We're not completely out of the woods economically, and that's weighing on markets," said Wasif Latif, vice president of equity investments at USAA Investments. He added that, as indexes hover at multiyear highs, "psychological barriers and technical barriers may be tough to breach."

The S&P fell 0.31 percent to 1,461.19. The Nasdaq composite lost 0.17 percent to 3,178.67.-- AP

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