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Stocks edge lower after weak manufacturing report

By STEVE ROTHWELL Published: December 4, 2012

Wall Street opened higher Monday following news that manufacturing activity in China, the world's second largest economy, grew for the first time in 13 months and after Greece announced details of a bond buyback program. The Dow had been up as much as 62 points shortly after the opening bell.

December is historically the best month for stocks. The S&P 500 has advanced an average of 1.95 percent over the past 30 years during the month of December, according to research from Schaeffer's Investment Research. The next best month is April, with an average return of 1.68 percent. The worst month is September, where investors lose an average of 0.72 percent.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 2 basis points to 1.63 percent.

Other stocks making big moves:

Dell rose 42 cents to $10.06 after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to “Buy” from “Sell.” Goldman cited Dell's healthy cash balance and said a recent decline in the stock may have been overdone. Dell has slumped this year on concern that consumers are migrating away from desktop PCs and laptops to portable devices such as tablets and phones.

Health Management Associates fell 37 cents to $7.59 after the CBS news program “60 Minutes” broadcast a segment critical of the company's patient admission policies. The program included interviews with former employees who said HMA pressured its emergency room doctors to admit patients.

Supervalu jumped 26 cents to $2.65 following a report that private equity firm Cerberus is considering multiple options for buying parts of the struggling grocery store chain.

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