US Stocks Mixed in Volatile Trade after ADP; Fed Minutes Ahead

U.S. stocks fluctuated on Wednesday following the prior day’s jump, with the ADP private-employment report exceeding estimates and casting a favorable view on the labor market two days before December jobs data.

“The U.S. labor market continues to signal acceleration heading into the New Year adding justification — where it needed — to Bernanke and company’s decision to wind down the level of bond purchases,” offered Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers, referring to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his central-bank colleagues, who are cutting monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion this month.

Stock-index futures fluctuated after ADP Research Institute reported U.S. companies added 238,000 workers to payrolls in December, better than the 200,000 anticipated.

If the ADP numbers are confirmed by Friday’s payroll report, “it provides the Fed with the proper reason to continue its paring of asset purchases at each of the upcoming meetings,” emailed Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group.

The U.S. dollar gained strength for a second day against the euro and the price of Treasuries and gold declined as the ADP report increased the argument for the Fed to continue its tapering.







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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 percent. Procter & Gamble led blue-chip declines, which included 23 of its its 30 components. McDonald’s also fell after Wells Fargo downgraded the fast-food chain to market perform from outperform.

The S&P 500 was down 0.1 percent, with telecommunications falling hardest and health care faring best among its 10 major sectors.

The Nasdaq shed 0.1 percent.

For every stock rising, more than two fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 95 million shares traded as of 9:55 a.m. Eastern. Composite volume hit 438 million.

Wall Street’s cautious stance comes as investors wait for earnings that start in earnest on Thursday and ahead of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting, to be released Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Micron Technology surged after reporting quarterly revenue that beat expectations. Ford Motor rose after CEO Alan Mulally told the Associated Press that he did not intend to leave the automaker, basically taking himself out of contention for the top post at Microsoft.

Gold futures fell $7.80, or 0.6 percent, to $1221.80 an ounce. The cost of crudedropped 22 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $93.45 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the yield on the 10-year Treasury yield used in determining mortgage rates and other consumer borrowing costs rose 4 basis points to 2.986 percent.

On Tuesday, stocks finished higher, with the S&P 500 halting a three-session decline, as investors took an optimistic stance ahead of Friday’s job report.

Source: CNBC

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