U.S. factories expand at slower pace
U.S. manufacturing barely expanded last month, in part because cold weather delayed shipments of raw materials and caused some factories to shut down.
The report from the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, contributed to a plunge on Wall Street. The manufacturing report raised the possibility that the U.S. economy might be starting to weaken.
The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 326 points — more than 2 percent. The Dow has sunk 7 percent so far in 2014.
U.S. construction spending up
U.S. construction spending rose modestly in December, slowing from healthy gains a month earlier.
The Commerce Department said Monday that construction spending increased a scant 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $930.5 billion, down from a revised 0.8 percent increase in November.
The December increase was driven by a 2.6 percent rise in private residential construction, which hit an annual pace of $352.6 billion, highest since June 2008. Spending on single-family homes rose 3.4 percent in December and 21.6 percent from a year earlier.