Nation roundup for April 2
Manufacturing news hurts stocks
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged lower on Wall Street Monday after an industry group reported that U.S. manufacturing growth cooled in March and was weaker than economists had forecast.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 29 points, or 0.2 percent, at 14,549 as of 2:38 p.m. EDT.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped eight points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,561. The Nasdaq composite fell 28 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,240.
U.S. manufacturing kept growing for a fourth straight month in March, but at a slower rate, according to the Institute for Supply Management.
The ISM’s manufacturing index dropped to 51.3 from 54.2 in February. Economists polled by the data provider FactSet had expected the index to come in at 54.
The S&P 500 ended the first quarter last week by closing at an all-time high of 1,569.19, surpassing its previous record close of 1,565.15 set on Oct. 9, 2007.
The index has recaptured all of its losses from the financial crisis and the Great Recession and has gained 9.4 percent since the start of the year and the Dow is 11 percent higher.
MTV reality star is found dead
SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Shain Gandee lived for the outdoors, often going on muddy, off-road thrill rides in the hills near his West Virginia home. A recent late-night escapade ended in tragedy for the MTV reality show cast member and two others.
The popular “BUCKWILD” cast member was found dead Monday inside a sport utility vehicle belonging to his family that was found partially submerged in a deep mud pit about a mile from his home near Sissonville, authorities said. Also inside were the bodies of his uncle and another man.
Kanawha County Sheriff’s Cpl. B.D. Humphreys said the red-and-white 1984 Ford Bronco’s muffler was below the surface and that mud covered the passenger side. No foul play is expected.
Authorities said the cause of the deaths was still under investigation and they refused to speculate on what happened. If the muffler was submerged and the engine kept running, it’s possible the cabin of the vehicle could have filled with fatal carbon monoxide from the exhaust.
Furlough notices hit Obama staff
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says 480 workers on the president’s budget staff have been notified they may have to take days off without pay because of a partisan budget stalemate.
Press Secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t say whether notices have gone out to other aides to President Barack Obama outside the Office of Management and Budget, including senior staff in the West Wing. But he says pay cuts remain a possibility for additional White House staff if a budget deal isn’t reached.
Every federal agency is grappling with spending cuts. Carney says the White House also has been trying to cut costs by slowing down hiring, scaling back supply purchases and curtailing staff travel.
Protest expands at Guantanamo
MIAMI (AP) — One of the best known prisoners in Guantanamo says a hunger strike at the U.S. base in Cuba has grown to include 130 men in a protest over their confinement.
Shaker Aamer tells his lawyer that he has lost 32 pounds during the strike that began Feb. 6. Aamer says prison officials have been trying to break the strike without success.
Aamer was born in Saudi Arabia but has been a resident of both Britain and the U.S. There has been an international campaign to free him after he’s spent more than a decade at the prison without charges. U.S. officials have accused him of links to terrorism.
Aamer spoke to his lawyer Friday about the strike. A prison spokesman said Monday that 39 prisoners are on strike, up two from last week.
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