* Strong ADP report boosts hopes for payrolls
* Minutes show Fed wanted cautious tapering approach
* Dow off 0.5 pct, S&P down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Jan 8 The S&P 500 dipped on Wednesday
as minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's most recent meeting
prompted little reaction from equity indexes, while Micron's
strong results helped boost the Nasdaq.
Minutes of the Fed's Dec. 17-18 meeting, after which the
U.S. central bank announced its decision to begin trimming its
monthly bond purchases, showed Fed officials were careful to
tread lightly as they embarked on the tapering process.
The Fed's accommodative policies were the main driver of the
S&P 500's rally of nearly 30 percent in 2013. The program is
expected to keep a floor under stock prices for as long as it
"The financial markets really didn't move at all, but
typically history would suggest they need a little bit of time
to just digest these things," said Darrell Cronk, regional chief
investment officer of Wells Fargo Private Bank in New York.
"What we need to recognize is since December 18, we've seen
a significant improvement in the economic data. If we get a
200,000 or north jobs report on Friday, it increases the
likelihood, along with that improving data, the Fed continues
its tapering process at the January meeting."
Earlier in the session, a report by ADP, a payrolls
processor, showed U.S. private-sector employers added 238,000
jobs in December, more than expected and the best read since
November 2012, while November 2013 numbers were revised higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.17 points or
0.52 percent, to 16,445.77. The S&P 500 lost 1.90 points
or 0.10 percent, to 1,835.98. The Nasdaq Composite added
11.567 points or 0.28 percent, to 4,164.749.
Micron Technology shares soared 9.1 percent to $23.72
to help lift the Nasdaq a day after the chipmaker reported
higher-than-expected quarterly profits.