U.S. Markets closed

Stock prices ease as manufacturing softens

Traders gather at the post of specialist Ronnie Howard, center, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, April 29, 2013. Enthusiasm on Wall Street sparked by another positive report on the U.S. economy helped push most Asian stock markets higher Wednesday May 15, 2013. But lower-than-expected German economic growth disappointed investors elsewhere. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A report of slowing manufacturing in the Northeastern U.S. is getting the stock market off to weak start.

Traders were also disappointed by news that Europe's economic slump continued, dragging France into a recession.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 30 points at 15,186 shortly after the open bell Wednesday, a loss of 0.2 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points to 1,647, or 0.2 percent. Both the Dow and S&P closed at record highs the day before.

The Nasdaq composite also fell three points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,459.

Macy's rose 2 percent, or 90 cents, to $48.31 after reporting a 20 percent profit increase, despite cool temperatures.

The New York branch of the Federal Reserve reported that manufacturing declined in the Northeast in May.