Wall Street took a breather Wednesday following two days of
extremely volatile trade, with stocks ending mixed in a choppy
session after a new survey of private-sector hiring lagged Wall
The S&P 500 climbed to a new, intra-day high early in
today's session, building on yesterday's record close, but could
not sustain the advance and finished slightly lower for the day.
Blue-chips were weighed down by a nearly 3% decline for Exxon-Mobil
) after the energy giant trimmed its spending forecast for the
year. But the Nasdaq Composite index eked out a small gain,
supported by shares of biotechnology and networking companies.
Weather played havoc on attempts to measure U.S. economic
conditions, leaving policy-makers at a loss of what's really
happening around the country, the Federal Reserve said its latest
Beige Book assessment issued this afternoon. The good news: Eight
of the Fed's 12 member districts saw continued expansion in
economic growth during the opening months of 2013, while the New
York and Philadelphia regions recorded small gains, which they
blamed on severe weather earlier this winter.
Employment levels were improving "gradually," according to the
Beige Book, so named because of the color of its printed cover.
That improvement, however, may have been too gradual for
investors looking for signs of private-sector hiring as measured by
today's report by Automated Data Processing (
). The payroll-processing company said companies hired 139,000 new
employees last month, trailing estimates looking for 158,000 new
workers. January hiring levels also revised downward. Factory
activity also declined in February, according to a pair of surveys
Commodities were mixed today. Gold for April delivery rose $2.40
to $1,340.20 per ounce while May silver added 6 cents to settle at
$21.27 per ounce. May copper declined a penny, finishing at $3.20
per pound. Crude oil for April delivery settled $1.88 lower at
$101.45 per barrel while April natural gas fell 14 cents today to
finish at $4.52 per 1 million BTU.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 35.51 (-0.22%) to
S&P 500 down 0.1 (-0.01%) to 1,873.81
Nasdaq Composite Index up 6 (+0.14%) to 4,357.97
Hang Seng Index down 0.34%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.89%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.71%
(+) MXWL, Climbs to 2-year high on heavy volume on speculation
over a potential deal with Tesla Motors (
), including positive comments Wednesday at Piper Jaffray.
(+) ARWR, Deutsche Bank initiates coverage with a Buy rating and
a price target of $45 a share.
(+) PPHM, Presenting data from three preclinical studies
highlighting its immuno-oncology and anti-viral potential of
phosphatidylserine-targeting antibodies at an industry conference
next week in Sante Fe, N.M.
(-) CSIQ, Q4 EPS of $0.39 miss by $0.13 per share. Revenue rises
nearly 76% over year-ago levels but still comes up shy of $525.4
mln consensus. Guides Q1 revenue below Street view.
(-) XOMA, Scraps work on its Gevokizumab drug candidate
following disappointing Phase II testing results in patients with
erosive osteoarthritis of the hand, although it will continue Phase
III testing in patients with pyoderma gangrenosum.
(-) CERE, Prices public offering of 20 million shares of its
common stock at $1 apiece - a 28% discount to Tuesday's closing
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