US stocks opened mixed Wednesday after the release of better-than-expected private-sector employment for December.
U.S. private-sector employment increased by 238,000 jobs last December, surpassing November as the strongest month for job growth in 2013, according to a report published by private payroll processor ADP. The fresh figure also beat analysts' expectations of an increase of 200,000.
"It's encouraging news that hopefully bodes well for 2014," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP.
Moreover, the closely-watched U.S. non-farm payroll report for December will be released Friday by the Labor Department.
All eyes are on the U.S. Federal Reserve, which will release minutes of its December policy meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
Following the meeting, the U.S. central bank announced the first tapering of its massive asset purchases by 10 billion U.S. dollars starting in January.
Therefore, investors will be more interested in reading the minutes this time to get a better understanding of the Fed's decision-making and future policy orientations.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 31.31 points, or 0.19 percent, to 16,499.63. The S&P 500 slid 1.44 points, or 0.08 percent, to 1,836.44. The Nasdaq added 3.87 points, or 0.09 percent, to 4,157.05.
U.S. stocks rebounded Tuesday from a weak start this year, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closing with their first advance in 2014, as data showed the U.S. trade gap narrowed in November.