Tallahassee Journal

Stocks blah after Tuesday’s big gain

Stocks blah after Tuesday’s big gain

Stocks are mixed Wednesday on a mixed bag of economic reports, after the previous session’s huge gains. As of 1:07 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average is up 0.2%, the S&P 500 is down 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite is off 0.2%. On Tuesday the Dow closed up 305 points, after climbing 196 in the previous session.635586393265229675-GTY-462716010-70544108

The labor market cooled off a bit to begin 2015, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday, as businesses added a still-solid 213,000 jobs in January. Economists estimated the report would show 223,000 new private sector jobs. They expect 235,000 payroll gains in the Labor Department’s closely watched survey this Friday of the private- and public-sectors. Service-sector activity grew more rapidly than expected in January but a measure of employment fell sharply, a report Wednesday said. The survey by the Institute for Supply Management thus provided mixed signals for Friday’s closely-watched jobs report.

An index of service industries rose to 56.7 from 56.5 in December, above the 56.4 economists expected based on a consensus forecast. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding, while below 50 means it’s contracting. Office supply chain Staples agreed to buy its sole remaining competitor, Office Depot, in a $6.3 billion deal that would create one mega-office supply chain.

But shares of Staples (SPLS) dropped 10.5% on the news amid concerns of anti-trust opposition to the deal. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index surged 2% to 17,678.74 on gains in energy company shares and expectations for strong corporate earnings reports. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.51% and the Shanghai Composite fell 1%.