* Chicago PMI slips, private sector job growth slows
* Telecom falls on questions about AT&T, T-Mobile deal
* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq down 0.2 pct
* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to afternoon trading, changes byline)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Aug 31 U.S. stocks edged up slightly
on Wednesday as another round of soft economic data supported a
growing belief the Federal Reserve would take new steps to
stimulate growth, but tech stocks struggled.
The S&P 500 has risen in seven of the past eight sessions
by nearly 9 percent, led by sectors tied to economic growth,
reflecting the belief the Fed will once again attempt to
provide stimulus when it meets in late September. The S&P is on
track to end August down 5.5 percent, however.
Minutes from the most recent Fed policymakers' meeting,
released on Tuesday, indicated several Fed members favored more
monetary easing, encouraging investors to dive back into
"The market has been somewhat schizophrenic lately, but the
idea of more stimulus lets you put a rosy spin on everything,"
said Steve Sosnick, equity-risk manager at Timber
Hill/Interactive Brokers Group in Greenwich, Connecticut.
"Our rally has quieted down since the data wasn't great
this morning, and we still don't know if that kind of weakness
will be enough to trigger 'extraordinary action' from the
An index of factory activity in the U.S. Midwest slipped to
its lowest level since November 2009, though the figures still
pointed to manufacturing growth, while a separate report showed
private sector job growth slowed in August for a second
straight month. [ID:nN1E77U04P] and [ID:nN1E77U04P]
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, at an annual Fed conference in
Wyoming last week, said that the U.S. central bank's scheduled
meeting in September would run for two days instead of the
planned one to mull options for additional monetary stimulus.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 39.62
points, or 0.34 percent, at 11,599.57. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index .SPX was up 4.80 points, or 0.40 percent, at
1,217.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 3.78
points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,572.33.
Tech shares weighed on the Nasdaq, with Apple Inc (AAPL.O)
off 1.6 percent to $383.72 and Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) down 2.6
percent to $13.33.
Industrial stocks were among the top gainers on Wednesday,
with the S&P industrials index .GSPI up 0.8 percent.
Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) was up 1.4 percent at $91.07, and
Honeywell International (HON.N) gained 1.2 percent to $47.88.
Joy Global Inc JOYG.O rose 1.6 percent to $83.70. The
company agreed to sell the drilling products business of
recently acquired LeTourneau Technologies to Cameron
International Corp CAM.N for $375 million. [ID:nL4E7JV1XK]
Stocks pulled back from earlier highs after the Obama
administration on Wednesday filed to block AT&T Inc's (T.N) $39
billion proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche
Telekom (DTEGn.DE) because of anti-competitive concerns.
AT&T shares slumped 4.3 percent to $28.35. The S&P
Telecommunications index .GSPL dropped 1.9 percent, by far
the biggest loser among S&P sectors.
New orders for U.S. factory goods rose more than expected
in July as demand for transportation equipment surged, pointing
to some resilience in manufacturing at the start of the third
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)