U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors weighed softness in economic data ahead of Friday’s important jobs report. “The economic news for the last few months has been really tepid and trending downwards,” said Adrian Day of Adrian Day Asset Management. “I think we’re going to see weaker earnings in the coming period. When you add it all together the next earnings season is going to be quite weak and a potential knock to the market.”
Stocks pared early morning losses but held moderate declines in the close. The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 191 points soon after the open before halving losses, with Wal-Mart leading decliners.
“The economic data was what pushed markets down to start with,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management. He noted that investors likely renewed buying after realizing weak reports would tend to keep the Federal Reserve from raising rates soon.