Stocks declined, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index sliding to a five-week low, as speculation the economy may slip into another recession offset investor optimism amid more than $1 trillion in takeovers this year. Two-year Treasury notes climbed, while oil fell for a fourth day.
The S&P 500 lost 0.4 percent to 1,067.36 at 4 p.m. in New York, the lowest level since July 16. Two-year note yields slid 1 basis point to 0.49 percent, hovering near a record low of 0.4547 percent reached on Aug. 20. Oil dropped 71 cents, or 1 percent, to $73.11 a barrel.
“There still are very deep concerns about the economy and earnings,” said Hugh Johnson, who oversees $1.85 billion as chairman of Albany, New York-based Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC. “All of the data says the economy remains very weak, that the weakness is likely to persist. The possibility of a double dip is weighing heavily over the stock market.”