NEW YORK – Investors sent the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its lowest close in a month Monday as few signs emerged of a deal to end the U.S. government shutdown and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.
Lawmakers have until Oct. 17 to reach a deal on increasing the nation’s debt ceiling. Failure to strike a deal could cause the United States to miss payments on its debt. The Treasury warned last week that a default could push the economy into a downturn even worse than the Great Recession.
“Everything now is predicated on Washington,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist for Prudential. “That is what the market is focused on completely, getting a deal done to avoid a default.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 14.38 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,676.12. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 136.34 points, or 0.9 percent, to 14,936.24. The Nasdaq composite fell 37.38 points, or 1 percent, to 3,770.38.
The losses were broad. Nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 dropped. Phone companies were the only sector to advance.
Until now, the stock market has mostly moved sideways since the shutdown began at the start of the month, indicating that investors still expect lawmakers to come up with a deal. The S&P 500 is down 0.3 percent in October.
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.63 percent from 2.65 percent. The yield has fallen close to its lowest in two months. Investors have bought Treasurys on concern that U.S. economic growth will slow as the budget impasse drags on.
There were also other signs investors are getting gradually more nervous about the debt ceiling deadline.
The VIX index, which rises when investors are getting more concerned about stock fluctuations, rose to its highest in more than three months.
One of the reasons stocks haven’t fallen more is that some investors see the current stall as a blip rather than a change in the long-term trend. The Federal Reserve continues to keep up its unprecedented stimulus of the economy, a strategy that has helped support a four-year surge in stocks.
The stock market climbed to record levels in September after the Fed said it would keep buying $85 billion of bonds a month to support the U.S. economy. Many investors had expected the central bank to start reducing its stimulus.
“We would encourage investors with a longtime horizon to think of this as a buying opportunity,” said Kristina Hooper, U.S. head of investment and client strategies at Allianz Global Investors. Many investors who bought bonds after the financial crisis and the Great Recession still hold too many bonds in their investment portfolios, she said.
Investors will also be keeping an eye on earnings reports. Companies start releasing financial results for the third quarter this week.
Among stocks making big moves:
• Cooper Tire & Rubber fell $3.79, or 12.8 percent, to $25.72 after the company filed a complaint in a Delaware court Friday asking that the Indian company buying it quickly close on the deal. Investors took the news as a sign that the deal is in jeopardy.
• Mattel slipped $1.40, or 3.3 percent, to $41.15 after a Goldman Sachs analyst cut his earnings estimates for the toy maker. The investment bank also cut its estimates for Hasbro, which fell 80 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $46.53.
• Apple rose $4.72, or 1 percent, to $487.75 after a Jefferies analyst raised his rating and price target on the stock.