Stocks on Wall Street ended the day’s session slightly lower, as conflicting economic data amid the ongoing earnings season left investors without the necessary fuel to extend the previous day’s rally into a second consecutive session.
The ADP’s private-sector jobs report showed that companies did less hiring than had been expected in the month of January. The news took some of the steam out of another report that saw the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index for the month of January at 54, up one basis point on the month prior and slightly ahead of expectations.
The Final Tally
? Standard & Poor’s 500: -0.20 percent to 1,751.64
? Dow Jones Industrial Average: -0.03 percent to 15,440.23
? Nasdaq: -0.50 percent to 4,011.55
Our Top Stories
? George Brooks wants to know whether a slower economy will delay any further tapering activities on the part of the Federal Reserve.
? John Mauldin challenges the assumption that interest rates will rise.
? Mike Turner wonders whether the bulls can take back the market.
? Crowdfunding expert Dara Albright discusses the prospects for investing in crowdfinance assets through MyRAs.
? Dennis Miller on the shaky future of pension plans.
? Joe Goldman had a thoughtful piece on Jay Leno and the past and future of late-night television.
On the S&P 500:
Healthcare stocks traded down on heavy volume on the benchmark index. Pfizer Inc (PFE) was off by 3.6 percent, paring back gains of the days previous, while Gilead Sciences (GILD) dropped nearly 5 percent. Materials companies also took a hit, with oil and gas refiner Valero Energy (VLO) off by nearly 4 percent, and aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (AA) off by 3.6 percent.
On the Dow:
The Dow was spared the worst of the day’s selling activities, with a small majority of the index’s components ending the day up, led by Walt Disney Co. (DIS) , who added 1 percent. Pfizer took the biggest cut, but was followed by blue-chips Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) , down nearly 1.5 percent each, and with major-integrated oil’s Chevron (CVX) losing nearly as much.
On the Nasdaq:
The exchange bore the brunt of the day’s downward momentum, with tech stocks leading the way. Facebook (FB) , Vodafone Group (VOD) , Frontier Communications (FTR) , Yahoo! (YHOO) , and Groupon (GRPN) were among the day’s most heavily-traded losers. Plug Power Inc. (PLUG) , meanwhile, was off by over 6 percent on high volume, paring back on substantial gains the stock had made in the prior session.