The Institute of Supply Management said the Purchasing Managers Index dropped from a growth-positive 51.7 in October to 49.5 in November, with numbers below 50 indicating contraction.
New orders remained positive -- just -- with a mark of 50.3 for the month.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 59.98 points, 0.46 percent to 12,965.60.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index shed 8.04 points or 0.27 percent to 3,002.20. The Standard and Poor's 500 gave up 6.72 points or 0.47 percent to 1,409.46.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,196 stocks advanced and 1,831 declined on a volume of 3 billion shares traded.
The 10-year treasury note fell 2/32 to yield 1.626 percent.
The euro rose to $1.3058 from Friday's $1.2987. The dollar fell to 82.19 yen from 82.48 yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.13 percent, 12.17 points, to 9,458.18.
Britain's FTSE 100 index added 0.08 percent, 4.42 points, to 5,871.24.
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