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Markets Slump with Slowing Factory Activity; Gas Prices Down

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  The markets were steady at the open Monday, but by the end of the session, investors grew nervous about the dragging manufacturing sector.

Stocks turned negative after new data showed U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in three years, a troubling sign for the economy.

The Dow lost nine points Monday to close at 12,871.  The Nasdaq gained 16 points, and the S&P managed to close up three points.

Meanwhile, a surge in homebuilding pushed construction spending up by the largest amount in five months, an indication that the housing sector is slowly recovering. Construction spending climbed 0.9 percent in May -- more than the 0.6 percent increase in April.

As for gas prices, Americans are seeing more relief at the pump. The national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.36 per gallon, down 8 cents from the week prior. In California, gas prices are down 11 cents this week to $3.77, but the state remains the most expensive to fill up.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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