Stocks were cautiously building on Tuesday's late rally as stronger-than-expected economic indicators from the U.S. services sector overshadowed weakness for energy stocks as crude oil prices slipped. A slight miss on January payrolls also was limiting gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was outperforming other market indicators thanks to a nearly 8% rise by Disney ( DIS ) after the media and entertainment giant reporting better-than-expected earnings while the the Nasdaq Composite index was being carried higher with strength by tech stalwarts Apple ( AAPL ) and Facebook ( FB ).
Economic data today was mixed, with Automated Data Processing reporting private-sector employers added 213,000 new employees last month, trailing estimates looking for 220,000 January hires. December employment was revised upward to 253,000 from the 241,000 new jobs initially reported for the month.
The ADP payrolls miss was followed by a pair of above-consensus indicators for the non-manufacturing portion of the U.S. economy. The final Purchasing Manager's Index for January rose to 54.2, up from the flash reading of 54.0 earlier last month and December's 53.3 reading. It also edged out market expectations for a 54.1 final reading.
The Institute for Supply Management service sector index improved to 56.7 during January from a prior-month reading of 56.2 , also beating the expectations for a 56.5 index score..
European equities ended narrowly mixed, with upbeat data on the EU-zone services sector eclipsed by lingering concerns whether Greece can renegotiate its crippling foreign debt.
Crude oil was down $2.98 to $50.09 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.07 to $2.68 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $4.10 to $1,264.20 an ounce, while silver was up $0.16 to $17.48 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $2.59 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 3.92 to $18.85 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 3.08% to $13.65. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.09% to 22.17 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.31% to $121.43. The iShares Silver Trust was up 1.06% to $16.73.
Here's where the U.S. markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 11.02 (-0.10%) to 10,836.39
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 56.25 (+0.32%) to 17,722.65
S&P 500 down 0.86 (-0.04%) to 2,049.17
Nasdaq Composite Index up 1.79 (+0.04%) to 4,729.53
Nikkei 225 Index up 1.98%
Hang Seng Index up 0.51%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.96%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.17%
CAC 40 up 0.39%
DAX up 0.19%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index down 1.42%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.17%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.41%
(+) EW (+5.98%) Q4 earnings and revenues both beat the consensus estimate.
(+) DIS (+7.98%) Reported record quarterly revenues that beat analysts' forecasts.
(+) NES (+16.99%) Thermo Fluids unit to be bought by Clean Harbors for $85 million.
(-) MYGN (-10.45%) Lowered 2015 guidance, CEO to retire at end of June 2015.
(-) SPLS (-10.07%) Buying rival Office Depot ( ODP ) for $6.3 million.
(-) PLNR (-16.67%) Misses revenue estimates, sets Q3 guidance in line with forecasts.
(-) RL (-15.78%) Misses Q3 estimates.
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