(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting on Thursday and domestic jobs data on Friday.
S&P 500 Index shed 0.11 percent to finish at 1,403.43. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.09 percent to end at 13,047.48. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.19 percent to close at 3,069.27.
The ECB is expected to disclose details of a new bond-buying plan aimed to address the euro zone debt woes. Bloomberg News reported that ECB President Mario Draghi's bond-buying program involves unlimited purchases of government debt. Meanwhile, a survey by Markit Economics showed that euro zone's private sector business activity in August shrank more than initially estimated.
Also closely watched include the ADP private sector employment report and weekly jobless claims data on Thursday as well as reports on non-farm payrolls and unemployment rate on Friday.
On the domestic economic front, nonfarm business sector labor productivity advanced at a 2.2 percent rate for the second quarter, beating economists expectations of a 1.8 percent rise and a 1.6 percent increase in the preliminary report. The Labor Department also reported that unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses grew 1.5 percent, matching expectations, versus a 1.7 percent rise as reported last month.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: FDX, FB, SWY, ALTR, GIII, TGP, GWRE, PBY, OYOG, PSTI
In corporate news, FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) retreated 1.99 percent after the economic bellwether reduced its earnings guidance for the first quarter citing constrained revenue growth at FedEx Express due to weakness in the global economy.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) added 4.80 percent after Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg disclosed in a regulatory filing that he has no plans to conduct any sale transactions in the company's securities for at least 12 months.
Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG), a discount retailer, raised its forecast for the full year following better-than-expected quarterly earnings, as higher customer traffic drove sales growth. Shares closed 0.79 percent higher.
Altera Corp. (NASDAQ:ALTR) shed 1.61 percent after the chipmaker updated its revenue view. It expects sequential revenue growth for the third quarter to be in line with its prior guidance of 2 percent to 6 percent growth.
Safeway Inc. (NYSE:SWY) gained 4.30 percent after food and drug retailer said it plans an initial public offering of a minority stake in its gift-card unit Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc.
Teekay LNG Partners L.P. (NYSE:TGP) fell 5.13 percent after provider of marine transportation services for liquefied natural gas (LNG) priced its follow-on public offering of 4.6 million units at $38.43 apiece, a 3.8 percent discount to the stock's previous closing price.
Guidewire Software Inc. (NYSE:GWRE) jumped 9.88 percent after the provider of software to property and casualty insurance industry posted better-than-forecast results for the fourth quarter.
G-III Apparel Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:GIII) surged 10.01 percent after the company lifted its earnings and sales forecast for the year after the maker of outerwear reported better-than-expected second-quarter results.
Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE:PBY) jumped 8.45 percent after the automotive services company posted higher quarterly earnings and sales. The company also named a new finance chief.
OYO Geospace Corp. (NASDAQ:OYOG) spiked 13.72 percent after the company said it has accepted a non-binding letter of intent with the international energy company Statoil to provide 600 kilometers of seabed seismic reservoir monitoring system for the Snorre and Grane fields on the Norwegian continental shelf.
Pluristem Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PSTI) added 10.02 percent after the company said it completed a series of three life-saving compassionate use treatments and that these results show its PLX cells may have significant potential to treat a range of indications of bone marrow diseases.
European markets ended on a mixed note, with Germany's DAX up 0.46 percent to close at 6,964.69. France's CAC40 rose 0.20 percent to finish at 3,405.79. U.K.'s FTSE 100 retreated 0.25 percent to end at 5,657.86.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dipped 0.29 percent to finish at 2,037.68. Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 1.09 percent to end at 8,679.82. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.47 percent to end at 19,145.07. India's BSE Sensex closed at 17,313.34, down 0.73 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures advanced 0.26 percent to $95.550 per barrel while natural gas futures declined 2.00 percent to $2.797 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures edged 0.03 percent lower to $1,695.5 per ounce and silver futures dropped 0.44 percent to $32.27 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.24 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2596. The British pound advanced 0.20 percent against the greenback to 1.5903, while the dollar shed 0.04 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.3900.