Stocks headed into the close flat to marginally higher, erasing
earlier losses tied to a better than expected services sector
indicator and a lowered EU growth forecast for 2014. Trading in the
Dow Industrials was confined to a paper-thin 30 point range for
most of the day with pressure on telecom and healthcare stocks
offset by strength in consumer staples.
Stocks were trading defensively for most of the day with
investors wary of economic data that could influence the Fed to
consider tapering before the end of the year. This caused the
exaggerated reaction to the above-consensus Institute for Supply
Management index for October sending the Dow 117 points lower just
after the open. Although very dovish comments from Boston Fed
President Eric Rosengren helped soothe Fed-related jitters,
investors were unwilling to take aggressive bets before this week's
pivotal economic data which includes GDP on Thursday and non-farm
payrolls on Friday.
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