February 5, 2014 / 7:22 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-S&P 500 dips after technical bounce, mixed data

* ADP jobs report a tick below expectations, Dec. revised lower

* Services sector grows at faster clip than forecast

* Gilead Sciences shares weigh the most on S&P 500

* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P off 0.1 pct, Nasdaq down 0.3 pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks bounced off a technical support level on Wednesday, after the S&P 500 hit its lowest level since mid-October, although mixed data gave investors few reasons to buy equities.

In a volatile trading session, the benchmark S&P index hit a session low of 1,737.92, marking its lowest level since Oct. 18, before rebounding to briefly climb into positive territory.

U.S. data is being closely watched after a weak reading in the factory sector on Monday sent Wall Street into a tailspin and triggered a global equity selloff. Wednesday’s data left investors with little clarity about the economic impact from the harsh weather this winter.

Growth picked up in the dominant U.S. services sector in January, with steady strength in private-sector hiring. The data suggested that the U.S. economy was digging through the winter weather that socked the country over the last several weeks.

“Clearly, we are getting that support off that 1,740 area, which has held so far this week, at least,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati.

“Today’s (data) almost just added to the confusion, or added to the indecision, as to what exactly should we believe - is it weather-related or is it not - and that is the big question that isn’t answered yet and won’t be answered for a little bit of time.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.52 points or 0.09 percent, to 15,458.76. The S&P 500 lost 1.44 points or 0.08 percent, to 1,753.76. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.65 points or 0.29 percent, to 4,019.87.

The limp data earlier in the week added to concerns about growth in China and the outlook for some emerging market economies. A recent rout in emerging currencies spurred some central banks to act, pressuring bond and stock holdings and luring investors into assets perceived as relatively safe, like the yen and U.S. and German government debt.

According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning, of the 298 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 69.5 percent have topped Wall Street’s expectations, above the 63 percent beat rate since 1994 and the 67 percent rate for the past four quarters.

Gilead Sciences fell 3.1 percent to $79.49 and was the heaviest weight on the S&P 500 a day after quarterly results.

Shares of Cognizant Technology Solutions fell 4.2 percent to $92.95. The IT services provider forecast slower-than-expected revenue growth.

Tableau Software shares jumped 13.9 percent to $90.43 after the data analysis software maker forecast better-than-expected revenue for this quarter and results handily beat analysts’ estimates.

CVS Caremark Corp said it would stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 stores by October, becoming the first U.S. drugstore chain to take cigarettes off the shelf. Its shares declined 0.6 percent to $65.73.

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