The Dow Jones industrial average edged lower on Wednesday, continuing its sluggish start to the month.
Stocks fell as investors weighed conflicting economic reports and assessed the outlook for the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus program. One survey showed that U.S. businesses added the most jobs in a year last month as manufacturing and construction expanded. Another showed that growth in the service sector slowed.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24.85 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,889.77.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 2.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,792.81.
The Nasdaq composite rose 0.80 points, 0.02 percent, to 4,038.
For the week:
The Dow is down 196.64 points, or 1.2 percent.
The S&P 500 is down 13 points, or 0.7 percent.
The Nasdaq has lost 21.89 points, or 0.5 percent.
For the year:
The Dow is up 2,785.63 points, or 21.3 percent.
The S&P 500 is up 366.62 points, or 25.7 percent.
The Nasdaq is up 1,018.49 points, or 33.7 percent.