Midday Update: Stocks Slightly Lower Amid Worries About Hawkish FOMC Minutes


Despite encouraging payroll data and yesterday's impressive gains, Wall Street is hesitant ahead of today's afternoon release of minutes from the last FOMC meeting as well as the December job report on Friday. The Dow Industrials Average opened just two points under Tuesday's close following a better-than-expected increase in the ADP private payrolls report but soon reversed course as investors positioned for the 2 p.m. release of details from the Fed's decision last month to begin scaling back its bond-buying stimulus program.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index is outperforming again today, clinging to positive levels thanks to gains for Apple ( AAPL ) and Micron Technology ( MU ) as well as another record high for Google ( GOOG ).

Payroll processor ADP reported a 238,000 increase in private payrolls during December for the largest rise in more than a year and beating estimates for a 205,000 gain. November payrolls also were revised higher to 229,000, lifting the total for 2013 to 2.16 million new hires, up 10% from 2012.

European markets all drifted into negative territory as well in spite of friendly economic data from the EU including much stronger than expected German factory orders and EU retail sales. With the U.S. softer and UK retailers dragging the markets lower, the FTSE shed more than half a percentage point today taking the other major indices lower as well.

Crude oil was down 0.70% to $92.97 per barrel. Natural gas is unchanged at $4.27 per 1 million BTU. Gold (CNS: GCQ2) is up/down XXX to XXX an ounce, while silver was down $0.40 to $19.39 an ounce. Copper is down $0.01 to $3.35 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.66% to $33.36 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.90% to $20.85. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.36% to 21.64 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 1.01 to $117.81. The iShares Silver Trust was down 2.38% to $18.67.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 0.77 (-0.01%) to 10326.56

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 70.36 (-0.43%) to 16460.58

S&P 500 down 0.20 (-0.01%) to 1837.68

Nasdaq Composite Index up 14.17 (+0.34%) to 4167.35


Nikkei 225 Index up 1.94%

Hang Seng Index up 1.25%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.15%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.50%

CAC 40 down 0.04%

DAX down 0.09%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.64%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.38%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.47%


(+) MNGA (+33.13%) Said its Italian distributor has signed a contract with the Italian equivalent of the National Alternative Energy Laboratory to perform various tests on its MagneGas fuels.

(+) APOL (+14.0%) Late yesterday reports Q1 earnings of $1.04 per share, beating analyst expectations by $0.14.

(+) RVBD (+12.1%) Elliot Management Corp offers to buy all of the company's outstanding shares for $19.00 each in cash.


(-) AZZ (-9.5%) Q3 revenue miss Street view; also sets FY14 guidance trailing analyst consensus.

(-) SPRT (-17.3%) Northland Capital Markets downgrades the cloud-based business services company to Market Perform from Outperform after issuing disappointing Q1 guidance.

(-) SEED (-17.7%) FY13 earnings rise but sales drop amid increased competition and bad weather.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , GOOG , MU

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