US stocks Wednesday ended modestly lower following mixed jobs and services sector data and as investors looked ahead to Friday's US labor market report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 5.01 points (0.03 percent) to finish at 15,440.23.
The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 3.56 (0.20 percent) to 1,751.64, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 19.97 (0.50 percent) to 4,011.55.
The US private sector added 175,000 jobs in January, according to payrolls firm ADP, slightly below the 178,000 estimated by analysts.
But the Institute for Supply Management's index of services sector activity rose a full percentage point to 54.0 in January, slightly above the 53.8 level expected by analysts.
Analysts do not expect significant market swings ahead of the Labor Department report on January job growth and unemployment on Friday.
"Overall the economy is improving, but we've got to see some statistics that confirm that," said Bill Lynch, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates.
A number of gaming stocks fell due to a report of disappointing January gambling revenues in China's casino mecca Macau. Wynn Resorts dipped 1.9 percent, Las Vegas Sands lost 1.4 percent and MGM Resorts declined 2.2 percent.
Drugstore chain CVS Caremark's announcement that it was phasing out the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products did not wow investors. Shares fell 1.0 percent following the CVS statement, which was hailed by President Barack Obama.
Google rose 0.4 percent after settling rivals' complaints to European Union antitrust officials that they were unfairly excluded from its search results. Google agreed to display links to the services of three rivals in its own search results.
3M joined the growing list of companies announcing large share buybacks. The Dow component's decision to authorize a new $12 billion program sent shares 0.5 percent higher.
Fashion retailer Ralph Lauren lost 3.6 percent after revenues of $2.0 billion slightly underperformed estimates of $2.03 billion. The company said the board had approved an additional $500 million in stock repurchases.
3D Systems, a 3D printing company, plummeted 15.4 percent due to a profit warning. 3D slashed its fourth-quarter forecast to 83-87 cents per share from 93 cents-$1.03 per share.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.67 percent from 2.62 percent, while the 30-year increased to 3.65 percent from 3.59 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.