US STOCKS-Wall St flat after data, quarter ending weak

* Indexes on track for worst quarter in at least five

* Chicago PMI rises slightly more than expected

* Private employment report disappoints

* Dow off 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.02 pct, Nasdaq off 0.06 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to late afternoon, changes byline)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, June 30 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) were little
changed on Wednesday as a disappointing reading of the labor
market offset signs of improved Midwest business activity.

Stocks had risen earlier, in part, as investors sought
bargains a day after the S&P 500 slumped to an eight-month
low.

Energy and industrial shares, among the hardest hit sectors
on Tuesday, rose, with manufacturer 3M (MMM.N: ) up 1.2 percent
to $79.40 and Chevron (CVX.N: ) 0.6 percent higher to $68.74.

Analysts said the fact the S&P 500 was holding at about
1,040 in the wake of Tuesday’s slide was positive.

“That 1,040 level is holding, so for the time being
everyone is looking at that level. Sometimes you can have a lot
of support when a lot of people are looking at a level like
that,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at
Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“If it breaks, it’s clearly bad, but in the meantime, it is
holding so it is good in the short term.”

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) dropped 11.94
points, or 0.12 percent, to 9,858.36. The Standard & Poor’s 500
Index (.SPX: ) gained 0.16 points, or 0.02 percent, to 1,041.40.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) shed 1.23 points, or 0.06
percent, to 2,133.95.

As the second quarter ends, major indexes were on track for
their worst quarter in at least five.

For the quarter, the S&P is down 11 percent, the Dow has
fallen 9.2 percent and the Nasdaq has lost 11 percent.

Wednesday’s data showed Midwest business activity grew
slightly more than expected in June, but a report on
private-sector employment showed weakness in a part of the
economy critical to recovery. For details, see [ID:nN30395701]

Developments in Europe helped market sentiment. The
European Central Bank said European banks needed to borrow less
than had been expected, easing concerns about the repayment of
large emergency loans. [ID:nLDE65T0VB]

Helping to boost the energy sector were oil services
stocks, including Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N: ), up 4 percent to
$42.47 and Halliburton Co (HAL.N: ), up 2.7 percent to $25.15.

The PHLX Oil Services Sector index (.OSX: ) gained 1.9
percent. The index has fallen 18.9 percent for the quarter and
21 percent since the BP Plc (BP.L: )(BP.N: ) oil spill.

“If you want to go bottom fishing, you do it in the oil
services sector. There is going to be consolidation in that
group,” said Cliff Draughn, president and chief investment
officer at Excelsia Investment Advisors in Savannah, Georgia.

“With this moratorium on offshore drilling, they are a dead
business.”

Shares of Ford Motor Co (F.N: ) jumped 4.8 percent to $10.35
after the automaker said it was wiping $4 billion in debt off
its balance sheet and also paying $255 million on preferred
stock dividends that had been deferred. [ID:nN30254623].

Monsanto Co (MON.N: ), the world’s largest seed producer,
reported a 45 percent drop in quarterly net income, saying its
Roundup herbicide business continued to struggle. Its shares
fell 1.8 percent to $46.48. [ID:nN30210689].

Stock Market News

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Wall St flat after data, quarter ending weak