Stocks End Lower

Stocks ended lower in trading today as investors took a breather after Wednesday’s huge rally and as initial excitement over the fiscal cliff deal faded. Stocks also slipped as the minutes of the Federal Reserve‘s most recent FOMC showed that Fed members disagreed over how long the central bank should buy bonds to boost the economy.

The Dow Jones ended the day 0.16% lower at 13,391.36, the S&P 500 was trading 0.21% lower at 1,459.37, and the Nasdaq was trading 0.38% lower at 3,100.57.

Basic Materials sector led the losses in the S&P 500 today, ending the day 1.17% lower. Technology sector also fell sharply, ending the day 0.66% lower. Conglomerates ended the day 0.71% lower, while Financials ended the day 0.37% lower. Transportation and Healthcare were the best performers in the S&P 500 today. Both sectors ended the day 0.29% higher.

Among the major movers in trading today were Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO), which ended the day 12.96% lower $55.74, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), which ended the day 0.82% lower at $27.77, SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR), which ended the day 47.96% higher at $9.07, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), which ended the day 1.97% higher at $13.46, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), which ended the day 1.26% lower at $542.10.

On the economic front, a report released by the Labor Department earlier today showed that initial jobless claims fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims rose to 360,000. A report from ADP showed that the private sector added 215,000 new jobs in December, well above economists forecast. On Friday, the Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls for the month of December. Economists expect nonfarm payrolls to rise 150,000 in December following a gain of 146,000 in November.

edliston

edliston

Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.