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Overnight Markets: Wall Street little changed as investors shrug off soft data

Overnight Markets: Wall Street little changed as investors shrug off soft data

Wall Street closed little changed on Wednesday, a day after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose the most, as investors shrugged off soft data on jobs and the services sector while keeping an eye on developments in Ukraine.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 36 points or 0.22%, to end at 16,360. The S&P 500 closed flat at 1,874. The Nasdaq Composite added six points or 0.14%, to close at 4,358.

Investors showed subdued reaction to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which said severe weather across much of the US took a toll on shopping and consumer spending in recent weeks. That led to slower economic growth or output in some areas of the country.

Data from payrolls processor ADP showed that US private-sector employers added fewer workers than expected in February. A report from the Institute for Supply Management showed the services sector continued to grow last month, albeit at a slower pace.

Market participants focused on developments out of Ukraine, following the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West over influence in Kiev and control of Crimea.

Financial shares gained, with Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) adding 3.2% and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) rising 2.8%.

Facebook (FB.O) shares closed up 4% after climbing to an all-time high of $71.97.

On the negative side, Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) was down 2.8%, and Nike Inc (NKE.N) fell 1.5%.

Elsewhere, Honeywell International (HON.N) shares hit an all-time intraday high of $95.85 after the company set a target of increasing overall sales to more than $50 billion by 2018 as it spends $10 billion on acquisitions. The stock ended up 0.06%.

Canadian Solar Inc (CSIQ.O) slid 10.7% after the solar panel maker warned of a drop in revenue this quarter.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp (SWHC.O) shares jumped 16.4% after the gun maker reported a 42% surge in its fiscal third-quarter profit.

In Asia, shares surged on Thursday led by Japanese stocks after a committee advising the ministry that oversees the world’s largest pension fund said it no longer needs to focus on domestic bonds.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% to 138 as of 10:07 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.3%, while Nikkei Stock Average 225 gained 0.38%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.5%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.1%.

In Hong Kong, Hang Seng Index gained 0.38%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.63%.

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