Closing Update: Stocks End Narrowly Lower But Negative Bias Kept In Check By Above-Consensus Service Sector Activity
Stocks finished with slight losses Wednesday, largely setting aside worries over global growth and rising interest rates at home following a better-than-expected assessment of the U.S. service sector. But the market remained cautious ahead of the Labor Department's jobs report for January due out Friday, keeping earlier gains vulnerable to profit-taking pressure.
Stocks found early support after the Institute for Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index improved to 54.0 in January, up from 53.0 during the prior month and beating market expectations for a 53.7 reading.
Private employers added 175,000 new workers in January, according to Automated Data Processing ( ADP ), less than the 190,000 expected. December figures also were revised downward by 11,000 to 227.000 hires.
Gold and silver rose amid the ongoing global uncertainty. April gold advanced $5.40 to $1257 per ounce while March silver added 38 cents to $19.81 per ounce. March copper settled unchanged at $3.19 per pound.
Crude oil futures swung between gains and losses during much of the session after a government inventory report found a below-consensus increase in commerical supplies last week than market experts were expecting. March crude settled 19 cents higher at $97.38 per barrel. Natural gas also continued its volatile course from recent sessions, with the March contract finishing at $5.03 per 1 million BTU, down 35 cents for the day.
Here's where the markets stood at end-ofday:
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 4.94 (-0.03%) to 15,440.30
S&P 500 down 3.56 (-0.2%) to 1,751.64
Nasdaq Composite Index down 19.97 (-0.5%) to 4,011.55
Hang Seng Index down 0.60%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.82%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.13%
(+) LVLT, Shares climb to best levels in more than 12 years after the communications company reversed 19 consecutive quarters of net losses, posting a $0.06 per share profit - a penny shy of analyst estimates.
(+) DATA, Post Q4 per-share earnings of $0.20, easily topping Capital IQ estimates expecting a break-even quarter for the Revenue rises 95.0% year over year to $81.5 mln, beating Street view by $14.46 mln.
(+) MYGN, Reports Q2 EPS of $0.66, topping estimates by $0.20 per share. Revenue rises 36.9% over year-ago levels to $204.1 mln, beating projections by almost $29 mln. Guides FY14 earnings at least $0.13 over consensus view; revenue also exceeds.
(-) GHDX, Q4 loss of $0.30 per share was $0.27 wider than analyst estimates. Revenue of $68.8 million also misses consensus view by around $690,000. Projects FY14 net loss of $0.95 to $0.75 per share. The Street is expecting a $0.21 per share profit.
(-) BWLD, Q4 earnings of $1.10 per share for the sports-themed restaurant chain top analyst estimates by $0.03. Revenue climbs 12.4% year over year to $341.5 mln but trails consensus view by $6.06 mln.
(-) BBG, Falls on preliminary FY 2013 results, 2014 oil production guidance and an analyst downgrade at Global Hunter.