Wall Street started the new year with a sell off of shares.
Investors took the opportunity to lock in their profits after a bumper 2013.
The S&P had closed out the year with a 29.6 percent gain, its best annual performance since 1997. The Dow surged 26.5 percent in its best year since 1995. The Nasdaq jumped 38.3 percent, its best year since 2009.
“There’s no fundamental underpinning to the decline today, just basic portfolio rebalancing on the first day of a new tax year,” said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Chicago-based Northern Trust Global Investments. “People are taking profits and seeking bargains.”
Indeed the financial news was mostly upbeat. Global manufacturing ended 2013 on a strong note as the United States, Japan and Germany all saw demand pick up.
The negative influences came from China, where a measure of activity in the services sector slipped back in December, just as one for manufacturing had on Thursday.
That has investors concerned about slower growth by the world’s second largest economy.
As a result Hong Kong shares suffered their biggest one-day loss in six months on Friday. The Hang Seng Index closed down 2.2 percent.