U.S stocks pared initial loses to trade mixed by midday trade on Thursday as ADP job report data and retail sales data gave a mixed picture of the economy.
At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index was down 0.1%; the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.11%; while the S&P 500 Index was up 0.11%
Although the U.S. congress offered a temporary respite to investors by hiking taxes on wealthy Americans and postponing resolution on other key issues such as spending cuts on defense and entitlement programs, market sentiment remains jittery as lack of consensus on how to trim fiscal imbalance and policy stalemate on the debt ceiling issue could spell disaster for the U.S. economy. Lawmakers now have about two months to resolve these issues.
Meanwhile, many business leaders such as Peter Huntsman, chief executive of chemical producer Huntsman Corp. (NYSE: HUN
), David Cote, chief executive of Honeywell International (NYSE: HON
) and noted economist, Nouriel Roubini, all have shown complete dissatisfaction at the way negotiations were carried on by lawmakers, citing that no concrete long-term solution has been reached.
In some corporate news, automakers Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F
) and General Motors Company (NYSE: GM
) reported December sales that topped analysts’ expectations.
Retailers reported mixed batch of same-store-sales reports for December. While The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX
), and Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST
) gained after both companies reported better than expected same-store-sales, Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD
) slumped as it missed analysts’ expectation.
On U.S. economic data front, a report from the Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims rose more than expected for week ended Dec 29 while the ADP reported that the private sector added higher than expected payrolls for December.
Elsewhere in Europe, markets ended mixed with Pan European Stoxx 600 edging up 0.53%, FTSE 100 gaining 0.33% while Germany’s DAX falling 0.29%.
At 2:00 p.m. Eastern, the Federal Reserve will release minutes of its recently concluded policy rate meeting.