Two measures of activity in the services sector indicated slower
growth in December, indicating the economic recovery remains modest,
while a separate report showed factory orders rose as expected in
The S&P 500 closed out 2013 with a gain of 2.4 percent in December,
its fourth straight month of gains. But the benchmark index has
stumbled in the first three trading sessions out of the gate in
2014, falling more than 1 percent so far in January.
"With respect to the data, there were no huge surprises so with that
huge year-end rally and working off that overbought condition, there
is the potential for days like this where we don't get a lot of
market movement," said Todd Salamone, vice president of research at
Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.
Salamone also said investors may be hesitant, with earnings season
on the horizon as well as events such as Friday's payrolls report
and the release of the Fed minutes on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 44.89 points or 0.27
percent, to end at 16,425.10. The S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 4.60 points or
0.25 percent, to finish at 1,826.77. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC>
dropped 18.226 points or 0.44 percent, to close at 4,113.681.
Volume was modest, due in part to icy conditions that snarled travel
across the U.S. Midwest. Thousands of flights were canceled or
delayed over the weekend, as forecasters warned that
life-threatening cold was heading eastward.
About 5.44 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, short of the
5.71 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS
Apparel retailer Men's Wearhouse <MW.N> mounted a hostile bid for
rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers <JOSB.O> with an increased offer, days
after the smaller rival raised its buyout defenses. Men's Wearhouse
shares gained 2.2 percent to $51.68, and Jos. A Bank shares climbed
4.5 percent to $56.87.
Twitter shares fell 3.9 percent to $66.29 after being downgraded by
Morgan Stanley. The stock had surged nearly 70 percent in the past
six weeks. The firm also cut eBay to "neutral weight," sending its
shares down 2.8 percent to $51.78.
[to top of second column]
The S&P telecom sector index <.SPLRCL>, up 0.5 percent, was the best
performing of the 10 major S&P sectors after T-Mobile US Inc <TMUS.N>
said it is buying wireless airwave licenses from Verizon Wireless to
improve its high-speed network in a $3.3 billion deal, adding that
it hopes to follow up with more spectrum purchases. T-Mobile shares
shot up 3.7 percent to $33.48 while Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N>
rose 0.6 percent to $48.69.
Ford Motor Co <F.N> and its local partners boosted sales in China by
nearly 50 percent last year, nudging past Japanese giants Toyota
<7203.T> and Honda <7267.T> to make big inroads into the world's
largest auto market. Ford shares rose 0.5 percent to $15.58.
Solar panel shares garnered attention. ReneSola <SOL.N> advanced 3.9
percent to $4.23 after the company secured a contract to supply
solar panels to a solar project developer based in Japan. SolarCity
<SCTY.O> jumped 7.3 percent to $63.61 after Goldman Sachs added the
stock to its "conviction buy" list.
The U.S. Senate is set to vote at 5:30 p.m. (2230 GMT) to confirm
Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve. Yellen, who
has been the Fed's vice chair since 2010, is poised to become the
first woman to head the U.S. central bank. She is widely seen as
continuing the policies set in place by Ben Bernanke, who will step
down as Fed chairman at month's end.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock
Exchange by a ratio of about 8 to 7, while on the Nasdaq, about 16
stocks fell for every nine that rose.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.