US stocks were sluggish on Wednesday ahead of the data on the services sector with markets focusing on the upcoming European Central Bank meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.03% or 5.88 points to 17,873.67 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.8% or 1.7 points to 2,068.25. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.12% or 5.90 points to 4,761.71.
Earlier data showed the economy of the euro zone might face another contraction after the business activity grew less than expected in November despite the heavy discounting. The euro was trading at the lowest against the US dollar for more than two years, as reported by Fox Business.
The momentum is building for the ECB to launch a sovereign-bond buying program to boost the struggling economy of the bloc with many signs pointing to March.
Chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management, Jim Paulsen said, “I don’t know if they’re going to take a huge step but they are moving in that direction.”
Paulsen added, “ISM could have some influence, but if it lands not far from expectations the market will be positioning for the payrolls data Friday, because that’s going to set a trend for the rest of the month.”
According to USA Today, services firms have expanded at a faster pace, being a signal that the overall economic growth might be robust.
Worker productivity increased in the quarter of July to September at a pace that was slightly faster than the previously estimated rate while the labor costs dropped for a second straight quarter. The amount of output per hour’s work, productivity, increased at the annual rate of 2.3% in Q3 while costs of labor dropped at the rate of 1% as reported by the Labor Department on Wednesday.
European stocks gained, the Nikkei 225 Index of Japan climbed 0.32% and the Hang Seng Index of Hong Kong dropped 0.95%.
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