U.S. Stocks Close Mixed As Nasdaq Edges Up

The Nasdaq ticked up a fraction after falling as much as 0.6% during the session. The Nasdaq 100, which excludes financials, rose 0.4%. Meanwhile, the NYSE composite shed 0.8% and the Dow 0.3%. The S&P 500 lost 0.6%, closing back under the 1100 level.

Volume fell on both major exchanges. The dollar rose against the euro and the yen. Gold and oil pulled back.

On Wednesday’s economic calendar, the Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 50.5 last month from a revised reading of 49.8 in December. But economists had expected a reading of 51.

The ADP employment report showed employers slashed 22,000 nonfarm, private-sector jobs in January. That was smaller than the 40,000 cuts forecast by economists.

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Alliance Data Systems (ADS) gapped down and dumped 11% in huge volume. The stock closed just above its 200-day moving average. Late Tuesday, the provider of transaction services guided full-year 2010 sales below views. [Read the full article]

The 30-year bond fell 1 2/32 in price to yield 4.64%, up from 4.57% late Tuesday. The benchmark 10-year note’s yield rose to 3.71% from 3.64% on Tuesday.

“The back end of the (yield) curve is a little bit victim to supply coming up and the possibility of a higher- or better-than-expected nonfarm payroll,” said Christian Cooper, a rate strategist at RBC Capital Markets.

“The risk is starting to become that if nonfarm payrolls prints 50,000 or 60,000, that could really steepen the curve,” Cooper said. “The downside to that, a weaker-than-expected print of the same magnitude, would not nearly change the market as much.”

Investors began to perceive a greater possibility of surprisingly good jobs data, which would signal a stronger economic recovery and higher inflation, after an indicator released Wednesday showed that private employers cut 22,000 jobs in January.

The decline was smaller than the 61,000 jobs lost in December, according to the ADP National Employment Report. [Read the full article]

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