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S&P 500 ends September in the red

Specialist Glenn Carell, left, works with a colleague

Specialist Glenn Carell, left, works with a colleague on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Financial markets ended trading slightly lower Tuesday, leaving the Standard & Poor's 500 index in the red for September. It was only the third monthly loss for the benchmark index this year.

After a day of slight ups and downs on Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 5.51 points, or 0.28 percent, to 1,972.29, and the Nasdaq composite gave up 12.46 points, or 0.28 percent, to 4,493.39. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 28.32 points, or 0.17 percent, at 17,042.90.

The S&P 500 fell 1.6 percent in September, but is still up 6.7 percent for the year.

E-commerce company eBay rose 7.54 percent closing up $3.97 at $56.63 after the company said it would spin off the mobile payment service PayPal.

Trading has turned choppy since the S&P 500 hit a record Sept. 18. Part of the reason is lingering concerns over conflicts around the world, corporate profits and the global economy, said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners. Investors are also wary of the fact that some of the market's worst swoons have happened in the months of September and October. "People are unsure at this time of the year," Pavlik said. "We're heading into October. Like September, it's another typically bad month for the market."

Online commerce company eBay jumped 7 percent, the biggest gain in the S&P 500, following news that it plans to spin off its PayPal payment service into a publicly traded company next year. Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor, had been pushing eBay to make just such a move. President and CEO John Donahoe will step down after overseeing the split.

Ford fell after saying that it expects to fall short of its previously announced targets for profit. Bob Shanks, the carmaker's chief financial officer, said record profits in North America aren't enough to offset trouble in South America, where Ford expects to lose $1 billion this year, and Russia, where falling sales and a steep fall in the ruble took the company by surprise. Ford closed down 32 cents, or 2.12 percent, at $14.79.

A new batch of economic reports furthered speculation that the European Central Bank might provide more support for the region's economy. The annual inflation rate dropped to 0.3 percent, the weakest rate since October 2009. The report added pressure on the ECB to start a more aggressive stimulus program involving large-scale purchases of bonds.

The S&P 500 has slumped 1.5 percent in September, putting it on track to end the month with a loss for only the third time in the past decade. Despite its bad reputation, September had actually been good to investors. Over the past 10 years, the S&P 500 turned in a September loss during the financial crisis in 2008 and following a fight over raising the government's borrowing limit in 2011.

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