Stocks slip as slow start to '14 lingers
NEW YORK — The stock market stumbled Wednesday as investors waited for the government’s jobs report later this week and the beginning of quarterly earnings releases from corporate America.
Traders put aside a positive report that showed private employers created more jobs in December than economists had expected. The market had a muted reaction to the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s mid-December policy meeti ng.
Wednesday’s declines extend what has been a muddled start to 2014. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are down a little less than 1 percent after five days of trading.
The tough start should be taken in context of last year’s exceptional performance, when the S&P 500 surged almost 30 percent.
After bidding up companies’ stock prices to record levels last year, investors are ready to see if their bets are going to pay off. Big, publicly traded U.S. companies will start reporting their quarterly financial results Thursday.
The Dow lost 68.20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,462.74. The losses erased more than half of the 105-point gain the index had on Tuesday.
The S&P 500 fell 0.39 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,837.49 and the Nasdaq composite rose 12.43 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,165.61.
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