U.S. stocks declined in early trade on Wednesday as weaker-than-expected ADP private sector employment report and mixed corporate earnings weighed.
The S&P 500 Index declined 2.17 points, or 0.16 percent, to trade at 1,354.75 at 9:40 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21.00 points, or 0.16 percent, to trade at 12,786.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.10 percent.
The ADP employment report showed that U.S. private employers added 179,000 jobs in April compared with upwardly revised figure of 207,000 jobs in March, while markets had expected a gain of 198,000 jobs in April.
ISM non-manufacturing index is due to release at 10:00 am EDT, which is expected to show a reading of 57.40 in April compared to 57.30 in March.
On the corporate front, Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates Inc. (NASDAQ:VSEA) stock jumped 51.12 percent to $61.27 in early trading, as Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) agreed to buy Varian Semiconductor for $63 a share or about $4.9 billion in cash on a fully-diluted basis.
Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RAH) shares surged 7.99 percent to $89.94 in early trading session on news that ConAgra Foods made a proposal to acquire Ralcorp for $86 per share in cash or about $4.9 billion, excluding the assumption of $2.5 billion in debt.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) shares plunged 5.76 percent as its first quarter earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations. Net income rose to $299.4 million or $0.37 per share compared to $53.5 million or $0.07 per share in the same quarter last year, while analysts’ expected net income of $0.44 per share.
US stocks ended lower for the second day on Tuesday, led by declines from commodity producers due to lower oil and gold prices.
Crude oil futures declined 0.36 percent to $110.65/barrel and gold futures fell 0.04 percent.
The euro advanced 0.60percent to 1.4914 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.01 percent against the greenback.
European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 56.82 points, DAX30 down by 39.39 points and CAC 40 down by 10.38 points.