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Dec. 3, 2012 at 3:10 PM
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Markets slide on factory report

NEW YORK, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes were lower Monday after a key manufacturing report said factory business activity slowed in November.

The Institute of Supply Management said the headline 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.

In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 41.85 points, 0.32 percent to 12,983.73.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index shed 3.18 points or 0.11 percent to 3,007.06. The Standard and Poor's 500 gave up 4.15 points or 0.29 percent to 1,412.03.

The 10-year treasury note fell 2/32 to yield 1.625 percent.

The euro rose to $1.306 from Friday's $1.2987. The dollar fell to 82.21 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.

Factories show slight slowdown

TEMPE, Ariz., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. business activity at manufacturing firms slowed in November, the Institute of Supply Management said Monday.

The headline Purchasing Managers Index dropped from 51.7 percent in October to 49.5 percent in November..

The index uses 50 percent as the dividing line between growth and contraction.

A few component indexes showed growth. The new orders index dropped from 54.2 percent to 50.3 percent, holding just above the break-even point. The production index made headway, climbing from 52.4 percent to 53.7 percent.

The inventories index dropped from a sitting-on-the-fence 50 percent to 45 percent. The employment shifted lower, falling from 52.1 percent to 48.4 percent.

The ISM said six of 18 manufacturing sectors reported growth in the month.

The growth industries included petroleum and coal products, paper production, furniture, electrical equipment, appliances and components, food and beverage production, and computer and electronic products.

Eurozone manufacturing slows further

LONDON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Eurozone manufacturing contracted for the 16th consecutive month in November, research firm Markit Economics said.

The Purchasing Managers Index reached 46.2 in the region, an eight-month low.

For the second consecutive month Ireland was the only nation in the eurozone to show an expanding manufacturing sector in September, with a PMI at 52.4, a four-month high.

Numbers above 50 indicate expansion, below 50 is contraction.

Markit said Germany's manufacturing sector reached a two-month high, but remained in contraction with a PMI of 46.8. Spain achieved a 15-month high but also remained in negative territory at 45.3.

The Netherlands hit a six-month low at 48.2. Italy had a three-month low at 45.1.

The PMI in France reached 44.5, a three-month high.

"The downturn clearly remains severe," said Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson.

"The ongoing steep pace of manufacturing decline suggests that the region's recession will have deepened in the final quarter of the year, extending into a third successive quarter. With official data lagging the PMI, the rate of GDP decline is likely to have gathered pace markedly on the surprisingly modest 0.1 percent decline seen in the third quarter," he said.

Woodside buys into Israel's Leviathan gas

HAIFA, Israel, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Australia's Woodside Petroleum is acquiring 30 percent of Israel's Leviathan off-shore natural gas field, one of the world's largest, an official said.

The Leviathan field is "one of the biggest discoveries worldwide," said Peter Coleman, chief executive officer of Woodside, Australia's largest oil and gas company.

"We have a proven track record of safe reliable operations in Australia and being selected as the Leviathan joint venture's preferred partner in a competitive bidding process demonstrates the value of our LNG [liquefied natural gas] development capabilities," Coleman said on the company's website.

"Acquiring an interest in these permits is an exciting opportunity to grow our portfolio in the emerging Eastern Mediterranean basin, and we look forward to finalizing the agreement."

Leviathan, discovered in 2010 , is in the Mediterranean Sea about 130 kilometers (80.7 miles) west of Haifa.

It is estimated to contain up to 17 trillion cubic feet of usable natural gas, making it one of the largest fields in the world. Production for the domestic market is slated in 2016, the site said.

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