US STOCKS-Wall St flat on day after S&P record; Ukraine in focus

miércoles 5 de marzo de 2014 15:37 GYT

* ADP private-sector employment data short of expectations

* Financial stocks lead the S&P 500's gainers

* Dow off 0.2 pct; S&P 500 flat; Nasdaq up 0.1 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks barely moved on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 hit a new all-time high, as investors shrugged off soft data on jobs and the services sector while keeping an eye on developments in Ukraine.

The market showed little reaction to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which said severe weather across much of the United States took a toll on shopping and consumer spending in recent weeks. That led to slower economic growth or output in some areas of the country, according to the Fed's report of anecdotal information on the U.S. economy.

U.S. private-sector employers added fewer workers than expected in February while the services sector continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace. A harsh winter has allowed traders to dismiss what appears to be a soft patch of data, making the market susceptible to a large pullback if the trend of weakness in data continues.

Market participants kept a close eye on developments out of Ukraine, following the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West over influence in Kiev and control of Crimea. Investors' global flight to safety on Monday was reversed sharply on Tuesday. Markets were calmer on Wednesday, but volatility was expected, given the fluid situation in Ukraine.

"With earnings out of the way here, we are in sort of a quiet period. The focus is on Ukraine and any news coming out of there would be a major market-moving event one way or another," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York.   Continuación...