* U.S. services sector slows in December; factory orders up
* Twitter shares slide after several brokerage downgrades
* Men's Wearhouse launches hostile bid for Jos. A. Bank
* Dow off 0.3 pct; S&P 500 down 0.3 pct; Nasdaq off 0.6 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Jan 6 U.S. stocks declined slightly on
Monday after mixed economic reports, which showed a slowdown in
growth in the U.S. services sector and a rebound in new orders
for factory goods.
The technology sector was the day's leading decliner after a
downgrade by Morgan Stanley. Notes on Twitter and eBay
weighed on the shares of both companies.
Despite the day's decline, the Dow Jones industrial average
and the S&P 500 were still significantly above than their
200-day moving averages - a move below these technical levels
often triggers more selling.
In the United States, data showed the pace of growth in the
services sector slowed for a second straight month in December
while new orders for U.S. factory goods rebounded in November.
Globally, service industry growth slowed sharply in China in
December but picked up across most of Europe, suggesting that an
uneven global economic performance persists.
"We believe a slower, extended economic recovery provides a
supportive backdrop for stocks," said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S.
market strategist at RBC Capital Markets, in New York. The firm
raised its year-end target on the S&P 500 to 2,075, about 13
percent above current levels.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 49.93 points or
0.3 percent, to 16,420.06. The S&P 500 lost 6.21 points
or 0.34 percent, to 1,825.16. The Nasdaq Composite
dropped 25.346 points or 0.61 percent, to 4,106.56.
Volume was expected to be lighter than usual due to icy
conditions that snarled travel across the U.S. Midwest.
Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed over the weekend,
as forecasters warned that life-threatening cold was heading
Apparel retailer Men's Wearhouse mounted a hostile
bid for rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers with an increased
offer, days after the smaller rival raised its buyout defenses.
Men's Wearhouse shares gained 2.7 percent to $51.97, and Jos. A
Bank shares added 4.5 percent to $56.88.
Twitter shares fell 5.4 percent to $65.29 after being
downgraded by Morgan Stanley. The stock had surged nearly 70
percent in the past six weeks.
Morgan Stanley cut eBay to "neutral weight," sending its
shares down 3 percent to $51.69.
Ford Motor Co and its local partners boosted sales in
China by nearly 50 percent last year, nudging past Japanese
giants Toyota and Honda to make big inroads
into the world's largest auto market. Ford shares rose 0.7
percent to $15.60.
Solar panel shares were in focus. ReneSola rose 3.7
percent to $4.22 after the company secured a contract to supply
solar panels to a solar project developer based in Japan.
SolarCity jumped 9.1 percent to $64.67 after Goldman
Sachs added the stock to its "conviction buy" list.
The U.S. Senate is set to vote at 5:30 p.m. (2230 GMT) to
confirm Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.
Yellen, who has been the Fed's vice chair since 2010, is poised
to become the first woman to head the U.S. central bank. She is
widely seen as continuing the policies set in place by Ben
Bernanke, who will step down as Fed chairman at month's end.