The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had shed 41 points as of 11:30 a.m. EST, giving back a portion of Tuesday's gain. Dow Jones component Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was one of the index's worst-performing stocks, while shares of Gogo (NASDAQ:GOGO) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) posted solid rallies.
ADP data comes in below expectations
Perhaps contributing to the Dow's muted move to the downside, ADP employment data suggested that the U.S. labor market wasn't as healthy as economists had anticipated. ADP nonfarm employment change, a measure of private employment in the nonfarm sector, showed an increase of 139,000 jobs last month -- less than the 160,000 economists had anticipated.
Investors don't appear to be reading too much into the data, and for good reason: it's just one measure of the state of the U.S. labor market, and a minor one at that. The much more significant Labor Department nonfarm payroll report is set to be released on Friday, and should provide a much better view of the job market.
Ballmer's battle with the board
Microsoft's was down 1.1% in late-morning trading. There were no significant releases -- earnings, analyst ratings, or new products -- affecting the company, but an article in Bloomberg Businessweek shed more light on Microsoft's recent management shakeup.
Recently departed CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly clashed with the company's board of directors in his final months on the job, as board members initially balked at his attempts to transform Microsoft into a hardware company. New CEO Satya Nadella was himself initially reluctant, but later changed his mind. Overall, the report seems to suggest that some Microsoft insiders continue to harbor lingering doubts about the company's new device-focused strategy.
Gogo's management to address analysts
Shares of Gogo, the provider of in-flight Wi-fi, rallied more than 10% early in the session. Later this afternoon, Gogo's management will address analysts at Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
Investors may be expecting the upcoming comments to provide a catalyst for a move to the upside. At any rate, although a double-digit percentage gain is almost always impressive, it isn't particularly notable for Gogo, which has experienced wild swings since it began trading last year.
Stifel boosts Facebook shares
Facebook shares were also moving to the upside, though with a 3.3% jump that was more measured than Gogo's climb. Investors may have been bidding up Facebook shares in the wake of a price target boost from Stifel Nicolaus.
The firm raised its price target on Facebook from $72 to $82, and reiterated its buy rating. Stifel believes Facebook is continuing to build traction with marketers.