U.S. stocks declined in early trade on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 Index down 4.03 points, or 0.31 percent, to trade at 1,303.51 at 9:55 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 9.65 points, or 0.08 percent, to trade at 12,030.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.16 percent.
Employment in the US private sector rose more than expected in January, posting a gain for the fourth consecutive month. On seasonally adjusted basis, Private-sector employment rose 187,000 in January, from downwardly revised gain of 247,000 in December, while economists estimated an increase by 150,000.
However, a significant part of employment growth in January came from the services sector, where jobs grew at 166,000, recording an increase for twelve months in a row. Manufacturing sector posted a gain of 19,000 jobs. Small businesses accounted for more than half of private-sector employment growth in January, adding 97,000 jobs.
Investors also keenly watched developments in Egypt, where President Hosni Mubarak said he would step down in months.
On the corporate front, shares of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) jumped 13.83 percent as the company reported better-than-expected third quarter earnings late Tuesday. The company also expects fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 15 cents to 20 cents a share and adjusted revenue of $850 million to $950 million, while Street predicts profit of 20 cents a share on revenue of $936.13 million.
JDA Software Group Inc. (NASDAQ:JDAS) declined 3.56 percent as its revenue guidance for fiscal 2011 fell short of analysts’ estimation.
U.S. stocks soared on Tuesday buoyed by upbeat manufacturing data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.25 percent and finished above 12,000 points for the first time in over two years at 12,040.16. The S&P 500 climbed 1.67 percent and finished over 1,300 points for the first time since mid-2008.
The euro declined 0.23 percent to 1.3797 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.23 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures fell 0.08 percent to $90.70/barrel and gold futures declined 0.27 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 up by 18.75 points, DAX30 down by 19.88 points and CAC 40 down by 20.91 points.