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US: Stocks end mixed as hiring slows


[NEW YORK] Technology shares rallied while petroleum-linked equities tumbled Wednesday as US stocks finished little changed following data showing slower job growth in November.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.2 per cent to 24,140.91.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost less than 0.1 per cent at 2,629.27, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2 per cent to 6,776.38.

US companies increased employment by 190,000 in November, cooling from the blistering 235,000 pace in the prior month, according to private payrolls firm ADP.

The report is watched for signals ahead of Friday's more closely-scrutinized government jobs report.

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US stocks have been sluggish this week as investors await the results of negotiations between House and Senate Republicans on a final tax bill.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said "consternation" over President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital also weighed on the market.

"What is impressive is considering the headwinds the market faces today, we finished the day without much movements," Wunderlich said.

Large technology shares, which have been volatile in recent sessions amid some profit-taking, pushed higher. Amazon gained 0.9 per cent, Facebook tacked on 1.9 per cent and Google parent Alphabet added 1.3 per cent.

Oil-linked shares tumbled on lower oil prices, with Apache shedding 3.8 per cent, ConocoPhillips losing 1.7 per cent and Transocean down 5.2 per cent.

UnitedHealth Group lost 0.1 per cent after announcing that it was acquiring DaVita Medical Group, which operates outpatient dialysis centers and physicians networks, for US$4.9 billion, in the latest big health care deal.


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