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Overnight Markets: US stocks dip as investors wary before jobs report

by Himanshu Singh on Apr 04, 2014 at 04:23

Overnight Markets: US stocks dip as investors wary before jobs report

Wall Street fell on Thursday as investors turned cautious ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report, while consumer and technology shares declined.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed little changed at 16,573, after hitting an intraday record of 16,604. The S&P 500 slipped two points or 0.11%, to finish at 1,889. It also hit an intraday record high of 1,894. The Nasdaq Composite declined 39 points or 0.91%, to end at 4,238.

Investors were cautious and avoided big bets ahead of Friday's nonfarm payrolls report. Economists expect that employers added 200,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in March, according to a Reuters poll.

On the economic front, the US trade deficit unexpectedly widened in February to $42.3 billion as exports hit a five-month low, suggesting that first-quarter growth could be much weaker than initially expected.

In the services sector, growth accelerated in March after being hampered by unusually cold weather, according to the Institute for Supply Management's services-sector index.

In corporate news, Tesla Motors (TSLA.O), the electric car maker, declined 2.1% and the shares of Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), the online movie rental company, lost 2.3%. Facebook (FB.O) shares fell 5.2%.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N) shares jumped 14.5% following news that the company will pay $5.15 billion to settle years of litigation over pollution clean-up claims related to uranium deposits, wood creosote and rocket fuel processing.

Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N) fell 13.5% after Liberty Media Corp (LMCA.O) said it has sold almost all of its stake in the company.

In the biopharmaceutical sector, Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) edged up 0.1% after it said late Wednesday that a trial of its hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir, sold under the brand name Sovaldi in the US, showed the drug was safe and effective.

In Asia, shares oscillated between gains and losses on Friday in morning trade amid low trading volume as investors await data on US jobs growth.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.1% to 139 as of 9:36 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index slid 0.1% on Friday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.1%, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.4%.

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