The sputtering economic growth in Europe, coupled with a slowing Chinese economy, is producing a stiff headwind for U.S. economic growth. The numbers coming from the Institute of Supply Management for June are disappointing, with new manufacturing orders dropping sharply, according to a survey of purchasing managers across the country. However, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) dropped a slight 7 basis points despite the gloomy outlook. And the poor data had no effect at all on the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC), which increased by 0.25%. Either the broad market is still buoyant from the encouraging measures allowing Italy and Spain easier access to capital, or the poor manufacturing data is seen as just noise and not an indicator of a troubled economy.



Gain/ Loss %

Dow Jones Industrial Average -8.70 -0.07%
S&P 500 3.35 0.25%
Nasdaq 16.18 0.55%
WTI Oil Futures -1.46 -1.72%

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

After skyrocketing last week, oil prices moved lower as worries of energy demand looks to be tailing off in the near future. The weakening demand put pressure on crude oil shipping firms, with Frontline (NYSE: FRO) and Overseas Shipholding Group (NYSE: OSG) losing 3.3%% and 4.6%, respectively.

As would be expected, blue-chip materials and manufacturing companies were the hardest hit today, with Boeing (NYSE: BA) shares trading 1.51% lower as the company's chief competitor will encroach on the airplane manufacturer's territory: Airbus believes it can steal market share from Boeing by opening an A320 airplane assembly plant in Mobile, Ala.

Dell has been battered and bruised over the past three months, losing 20% of its market cap, and today it announced it will acquire Quest Software for $2.36 billion, a 44% premium to Quest's share price in March, in an attempt to continue expanding away from the slowing PC market.

Take a long-term view
The first half of 2012 ended on a great note last Friday, with the markets soaring on encouraging policy coming from the European Council. However, the eurozone troubles are not going away, and the second half of 2012 will be heavily influenced by news coming from overseas. Therefore, investors should be focusing on the long term and finding companies they can rely on to return capital in the long term. Now would be a great time to check out The Motley Fool's special report describing 3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich. This free report will list three remarkable companies as well as offer great advice on how to invest to secure a comfortable retirement -- get your free report now.

Joel South owns shares of no company listed above. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.