(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed in red after a data showed U.S. GDP shrank in the fourth quarter and the Federal Reserve said growth in economic activity paused in recent months.
The S&P 500 Index fell 0.39 percent to end at 1,501.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.32 percent to finish at 13,910.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.36 percent to close at 3,142.31.
"Employment has continued to expand at a moderate pace but the unemployment rate remains elevated," the Fed said. The central bank decided to keep interest rates unchanged and said it will continue its bond-buying stimulus program until employment improves substantially.
A report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed real gross domestic product unexpectedly fell at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter from the prior quarter, while expectations were in for the growth of 1.1 percent. GDP measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy.
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The ADP National Employment report - a measure of the monthly change in non-farm private employment - showed that U.S. companies added 192,000 jobs in January, topping economists expectations of addition of 165,000 private-sector jobs.
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In corporate news, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) added 4.77 percent after the online retail giant posted double-digit sales growth in the fourth quarter. The company guided first-quarter below consensus.
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Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) added 1.28 percent after the aerospace giant reported an increase in core operating earnings as strong commercial airplane deliveries drove double-digit revenue growth.
Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) plunged 12.01 percent after the company launched two new BlackBerry phones. The company is to rename itself as BlackBerry.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) surged 6.01 percent after the natural gas and oil explorer said its chief executive Aubrey McClendon has agreed to retire effective April 1, 2013.
Avery Dennison Corp. (NYSE: AVY) gained 6.36 percent after the maker of pressure-sensitive materials and brand identification products posted higher fourth-quarter earnings. The company said it will sell two of its businesses to CCL Industries Inc. for $500 million in cash.
Copano Energy L.L.C. (NASDAQ: CPNO) jumped 14.79 percent after the company agreed to be acquired for $5 billion by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (KMP).
Buckeye Technologies Inc. (NYSE: BKI) lost 6.37 percent after the producer of cellulose-based specialty products posted lower-than-expected second-quarter earnings.
European markets ended in red, with Germany's DAX down 0.47 percent to close at 7,811.31. France's CAC40 declined 0.54 percent to finish at 3,765.52. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 0.25 percent to end at 6,323.11.
Asian markets closed higher, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index up 1.00 percent to close at 2,382.47. Japan's Nikkei 225 rallied 2.28 percent to finish at 11,113.95. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.71 percent to end at 23,822.06. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.07 percent higher at 20,005.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures rose 0.50 percent to $98.02 per barrel and natural gas futures added 2.42 percent to $3.34 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures advanced 0.90 percent to $1,677.50 per ounce and silver futures jumped 2.68 percent to $32.02 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.55 percent against the U.S. dollar at 1.3566. The British pound added 0.23 percent against the greenback to 1.5800, and the dollar rose 0.41 percent against the Japanese yen to 91.1000.