* Best Buy founder, private equity firms examine books
* Private jobs, services sector data better than forecast
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Oct 3 U.S. stocks edged higher on
Wednesday after stronger-than-expected data in the services and
private employment sectors, but lower oil and metals prices hurt
energy and materials shares.
Stocks oscillated between gains and losses as hopes that
Spain will eventually request a bailout were offset by concern
over China's slowing economy.
Data showed growth in the U.S. services sector picked up in
September, defying economists' expectations for a slight
decrease while the private sector added more jobs last month
But the price of crude and metals fell, pressuring stocks in
the energy and basic materials sectors, after the euro zone's
economic woes increased last month and China's slowdown looked
likely to extend to a seventh quarter.
The S&P materials index and the energy sector index
were both negative.
"The market has lifted meaningfully since June 1st and it
has taken the last couple of weeks to consolidate those gains.
I think it will be another day of flat to slightly down price
action," said Jim Russell, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank
Wealth Management in Cincinnati.
The S&P 500 closed last week its fourth-straight month of
gains, adding roughly 10 percent since the end of May.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.53 points,
or 0.10 percent, to 13,495.89. The S&P 500 Index gained
2.64 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,448.39. The Nasdaq Composite
added 9.63 points, or 0.31 percent, to 3,129.67.
Best Buy shares gained 2.9 percent to $17.47 as
founder Richard Schulze and at least four private equity firms
started examining its books, in early steps toward what could
become an $11 billion buyout.
Shares of Family Dollar Stores rose 4.6 percent to
$69.03 after the discount chain posted a higher quarterly
Monsanto shares fell 3 percent to $87.80 after the
agribusiness group posted a fourth-quarter loss during a
seasonally sluggish sales period.