NEW YORK - US stocks are mostly lower after a strong report on US private-sector job growth and an upbeat assesment of the American economy in the Federal Reserve's minutes December policy meeting.
In the final hour of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 67.47 points (0.41 per cent) to 16,463.47.
The broad-based S&P 500 gave up 0.31 (0.02 per cent) at 1,837.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.62 (0.26 per cent) to 4,163.80.
The mixed result followed gains on Tuesday that snapped a three-session losing streak.
The Federal Reserve minutes showed most members were optimistic about jobs growth in the US economy, a sign the tapering of its economic stimulus program will continue.
At the December meeting the Fed decided to taper its bond purchases by US$10 billion to US$75 billion a month, starting in January.
Also out during trade in New York on Wednesday, a report showed the US private sector added 238,000 jobs in December, according to payroll firms ADP, well above the consensus estimate of 203,000.
The report is the latest data to show better job growth in the US and comes ahead of Friday's widely watched December jobs report from the US Department of Labor.
LONDON - European stock markets have retreated, with investors booking profits ahead of an update from the US Federal Reserve and in reaction to eurozone unemployment data.
Meanwhile the euro slipped as strong US jobs data heightened chances will continue with its cuts to its montly purchases of bonds.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 fell 0.50 per cent to end Wednesday at 6,721.78 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 slid 0.09 per cent to 9,497.84 points and the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.04 per cent to 4,260.96 points.
"Traders are playing it safe as they await the update from the Fed," said David Madden, market analyst at IG traders.
TOKYO - Asian markets have ended mixed, but Tokyo surged in response to a weaker yen and a Wall Street rally sparked by stronger US economic data.
Investors are also awaiting the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting to see if another cut in its stimulus could be on the cards, while closely watched jobs figures are due later in the week.
Tokyo rallied 1.94 per cent, or 307.08 points, to 16,121.45 and Hong Kong jumped 1.25 per cent, or 283.81 points, to 22,996.59.
Shanghai lost 0.15 per cent, or 2.98 points, to 2,044.34.
After a tentative start to 2014 - caused by profit-taking following healthy gains last year - US shares enjoyed a rally on Tuesday after the Commerce Department said the trade deficit shrank in November as exports hit a record high for a second straight month.
WELLINGTON - The New Zealand sharemarket has advanced as intelligence software firm Wynyard Group rallied for a second day, leading gains among tech stocks perceived to have strong growth prospects.
The NZX 50 Index gained 20.179 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4779.804 on Wednesday.