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U.S. equity markets meandered between gains and losses on Wednesday as traders digested a slew of news on the economic front.
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As of 2:10 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24.5 points, or 0.15%, to 16559, the S&P 500 rose 1.9 points, or 0.08%, to 1880 and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 5.6 points, or 0.15%, to 4097.
Wall Street has pushed higher in nine of the past 11 sessions, but it's been a shaky ride higher. The economy is expected to take center stage on Wednesday as traders parsed through a slew of economic data.
The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at an annual pace of 0.1% in the first quarter, the slowest pace since the fourth quarter of 2012. Wall Street was looking for annualized growth of 1.2% for the world's biggest economy.
Payroll processor ADP reported the private sector added 220,000 jobs in April, more than the 210,000 jobs analysts expected. The data come ahead of the all-important monthly jobs report on Friday.
Meanwhile, a reading on the Midwestern manufacturing sector from the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago topped expectations. The PMI gauge jumped to 63 in April from 55.9 in March, compared to expectations of 56.7. Readings above 50 point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction.
Lastly, the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting board unveiled plans Wednesday to taper its long-term asset-buying program by $10 billion a month to $45 billion. The central bank also renewed its vow to keep short-term rates at historic lows until the labor market improves substantially and inflation rises to a roughly 2% year-to-year pace. The moves matched Wall Street’s expectations.
A flash reading on eurozone inflation showed prices climbed by 0.7% on a year-to-year basis, weaker than expectations of a 0.8% increase. Economists at Nomura said the persistently low inflation readings are likely to push the European Central Bank to cut interest rates to record lows.
Deflation -- a situation in which prices fall -- is frequently a caustic situation that can take decades to repair. In fact, the Bank of Japan has embarked on an ultra-accommodative monetary policy path in an attempt to escape its own deflation trap. The BOJ renewed that policy Wednesday.
In corporate news, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) posted headline earnings figures that topped expectations. However, lighter-than-expected user growth sent shares of the micro-blogging site tumbling. EBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) shares also fell on a disappointing full-year outlook.
Energizer Holdings (NYSE:ENR) said it will split itself into two businesses: Household items and personal care products. GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) revealed mixed results, beating on the bottom line, but missing on the top line.
Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures dropped $1.19, or 1.2%, to $100.10 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.49% to $3.048 a gallon. Gold slumped $6, or 0.46%, to $1,290 a troy ounce.