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U.S. Stock Futures Fall on New York-Area Manufacturing

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Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock futures retreated after a Federal Reserve report showed manufacturing in the New York area unexpectedly contracted, fueling concern the economic recovery is slowing.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in September lost 0.2 percent to 1,398.90 at 8:32 a.m. in New York.

The Fed Bank of New York’s general economic index fell to minus 5.9 this month from 7.4 in July. The median estimate in a survey of Bloomberg economists was 7.0. Readings less than zero signal contraction in the so-called Empire State Index, which covers New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

The S&P 500 has fluctuated around 1,400 for the past six trading sessions, closing yesterday at 1,403.93. The index has rebounded almost 10 percent from a five-month low on June 1.

U.S. equity volume this week reached the lowest level since at least 2008 excluding holidays and volatility slid to a five-year low as vacationing traders awaited policy clues from the Federal Reserve’s summit at the end of the month.

About 4.5 billion shares changed hands on all venues on Aug. 13, the lowest level in data compiled by Bloomberg going back four years that excludes the days surrounding New Year’s, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Independence Day. Volume was about 5.2 billion shares yesterday, still about 22 percent below the average level of the year.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, known as the VIX, lost 7.1 percent to 13.70 on Aug. 13, the lowest level since June 2007. The VIX rebounded 8.4 percent to 14.85 yesterday.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael P. Regan at