Wednesday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

After a mixed morning, the U.S. equity markets took a turn for negative territory by noontime on Wednesday.

At 12:30 p.m.
DJIA:  -0.44% to 14,597.70 S&P 500: -0.64% to 1,560.27 NASDAQ: -0.59% to 3,235.66
Gold:  -0.62% to $1,566.10 per ounce WTI Crude: -1.87% to $95.37 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.033 points to 1.827%.

S&P 500 Index Chart - Yahoo! Finance

Here are three stories helping shape markets on Wednesday afternoon:

1) Total non-farm private sector payrolls increased by 158,000 in March, according to the ADP National Employment Report. This compares against an upwardly-revised 237,000 additions in February and expectations for as much as 205,000 for March, which makes the report underwhelming, at best. ADP reports that an average of 191,000 new private sector payrolls were added per month in the first quarter. March’s payroll growth was more than 17 percent shy of the first-quarter average. The majority of new jobs were added by the service-providing sector… (Read more.)

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Separately, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its index for non-manufacturing business activity posted growth for the 44th consecutive month, although the rate was slower than expected… (Read more.)

IMF Lagarde2) Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, issued a statement on Wednesday revealing that the IMF reached a staff-level agreement to contribute 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to Cyprus’s bailout program. In the statement, Lagarde highlights three policy steps that Cyprus has taken that the bailout program builds off of.

The first is addressing the problems that grew rampant and the nation’s largest banks in a way that protects insured depositors, or more than 95 percent of total account holders in the two affected banks. Also addressed are measures to increase the capacity of the nation to collect revenues… (Read more.)

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3) Applications for home mortgages in the United States decreased for the third time in four weeks, despite a dip in interest rates. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest report for the week ending March 29, loan application volume declined 4.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. This comes after a 7.7 percent jump. On an unadjusted basis, the index still dropped 4.0 percent. These figures include both refinancing and home purchase demand, and covers over 75 percent of all domestic retail residential mortgage applications… (Read more.)

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