Wall Street closes lower on jobs

Weaker-than-expected private sector jobs report sees US dip slightly at the close.

United States closed slightly lower after a report showed US private-sector job growth slowed in January.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 5.01 points, or 0.03%, to 15,440.23.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 3.56 points, or 0.20%, to 1,751.64, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index declined 19.97 points, or 0.49%, to 4,011.55.

The US economy added 175,000 private-sector jobs in January, slowing from the 227,000 increase in December, payrolls firm ADP reported.

Analysts had forecast the addition of 189,000 new jobs last month.

The ADP report came ahead of official January jobs data from the Department of Labor, which is due on Friday.

Meanwhile, the services sector showed signs of further recovery, with growth in the non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) climbing above expectations in January.

Investors were also comforted to hear news that ratings agency Moody's was confident the US would not default on its debt despite fresh debt ceiling fears surfacing this week.

In company news, Google Inc saw its shares climb close to one% after announcing a landmark agreement with European Union antitrust regulators, while shares in fellow tech giant Apple Inc also rose one% despite news of a $2 billion-plus patent lawsuit in Germany.

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