FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. equity markets slumped on Wednesday as traders digested weak jobs data and took a breather after two tumultuous days.

Today's Markets

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 28.3 points, or 0.18%, to 16366, the S&P 500 rose 0.13 point, or 0.01%, to 1874 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 5.7 points, or 0.13%, to 4358.

With America and Russia set to hold diplomatic talks over Ukraine, tumult in Eastern Europe is falling off Wall Street's radar. That means traders will once again begin focusing their attention back to the American economy. 

A report from payroll processor ADP showed private-sector employment increased by 139,000 jobs in February, significantly below the 160,000 jobs expected. The labor market, and many other sectors of the economy, has taken a hit recently due to unseasonably bad weather that has swept across the U.S. The data come out ahead of the all-important monthly jobs report on Friday. 

Separate data from the Institute for Supply Management indicated the U.S. services sector is growing at a slow rate than economists estimated. 

Meanwhile, the economy continued to expand across most of the Federal Reserve’s twelve districts from January to early February, the central bank said in its anecdotal Beige Book report. Still, reports on residential housing were ‘mixed’ and the pace of hiring remained sluggish as businesses dealt with unusually severe winter weather.

U.S. equity markets sold off on Monday amid Ukraine tension, and then rallied to record highs on Tuesday as those worries faded.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures fell 30 cents, or 0.29%, to $103.03 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 1% to $2.79 a gallon. Gold slumped $2, or 0.15%, to $1,336 a troy ounce. 

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.