(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed in red ahead of a key jobs data and investors weighed a set of mixed economic readings and corporate earnings reports.
The S&P 500 Index fell 0.25 percent to end at 1,498.27. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.33 percent to finish at 13,864.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.01 percent to close at 3,142.13.
The U.S. Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data on Friday is expected to show addition of 165,000 jobs in January, a drop from 168,000 jobs created in the previous month. Jobless rate is expected at 7.8 percent.
The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits rose more than expected, a government data showed. Jobless claims increased 38,000 to 368,000 for the week ended Jan. 26 from a revised 330,000, while economists projected 350,000 applications.
December U.S. personal income and spending increased 2.6 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, a data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed. Economists expected a 0.8 percent and 0.3 percent increase in income and spending, respectively.
The Labor Department said its employment cost index for the fourth quarter increased 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter versus 0.4 percent growth in the third quarter.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: QCOM, UPS, COP, DOW, CL, CTXS, FTNT, JDSU, FIO, WMS
In corporate news, Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) added 3.94 percent after the cell phone chip maker boosted its full-year outlook following stonger-than-forecast quarterly numbers amid healthy demand for smartphones.
United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) shed 2.39 percent after the package delivery company posted earnings below Wall Street expectations on Hurricane Sandy and weak macro environment.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) lost 5.06 percent after the crude oil and natural gas explorer posted a 58 percent drop in quarterly earnings due to lower commodity prices.
Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) plunged 6.96 percent after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings that trailed estimates on weak sales from feedstocks and energy, and performance materials.
Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) lost 3.14 percent after the consumer products giant posted its quarterly results. Earnings topped Wall Street projections, though sales were slightly short of consensus.
Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) jumped 9.23 percent after the software maker guided revenue for the full year above market expectations following better-than-expected fourth-quarter numbers.
Fortinet Inc. (NASDAQ: FTNT) soared 21.91 percent after the network security services company's fourth-quarter profit topped market expectations.
JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ: JDSU) surged 17.02 percent after the maker of broadband products said it swung to a quarterly profit on higher revenues and improvement in margins.
Fusion-IO Inc. (NYSE: FIO) slumped 12.99 percent after the provider of datacenter services lowered its full-year sales guidance.
WMS Industries Inc. (NYSE: WMS) jumped 51.19 percent after Scientific Games Corp. (NASDAQ: SGMS) agreed to pay $26.00 a share or roughly $1.5 billion in cash to acquire the maker of video gaming machines.
European markets ended in red, with Germany's DAX down 0.45 percent to close at 7,776.05. France's CAC40 declined 0.87 percent to finish at 3,732.60. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 0.73 percent to end at 6,276.88.
Asian markets closed mixed, with China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index up 0.12 percent to close at 2,385.42. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.22 percent to finish at 11,138.66. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.39 percent to end at 23,729.53. India's BSE Sensex ended 0.55 percent lower at 19,894.98.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures fell 0.43 percent to $97.52 per barrel while natural gas futures inched up 0.06 percent to $3.34 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures retreated 1.05 percent to $1,664.10 per ounce and silver futures tumbled 2.31 percent to $31.44 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.08 percent against the U.S. dollar at 1.3578. The British pound gained 0.37 percent against the greenback to 1.5860, and the dollar advanced 0.40 percent against the Japanese yen to 91.4400.