US STOCKS-Wall St slips as Greece woes linger

* Moody’s Investors Service likely to downgrade Portugal

* U.S. private sector added jobs in April

* Pace of growth in services sector unchanged in April

* Dow down 0.3 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct

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

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, May 5 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) slipped on
Wednesday on worries that Greece’s debt crisis could spread to
other euro zone nations, but losses were capped as investors
looked for bargains a day after a hefty sell-off.

Doubts about Europe’s plan to rescue Greece and fears the
debt problems could hinder global growth drove investors to
safe-havens, boosting U.S. Treasuries and driving down European
stocks and the euro.

European leaders warned the euro zone debt crisis could
spread beyond Greece, and Moody’s Investors Service said
Portugal could be next to have its debt downgraded.

In a potentially positive sign, the German parliament’s
budget committee approved a draft law on Germany’s contribution
to a financial aid package for Greece. The news coincided with
stocks trimming some of their earlier losses.

Wall Street’s losses were modest after Tuesday’s more than
2 percent decline. Michael James, senior trader at regional
investment bank Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles, said traders
were looking for buying opportunities generated by the
volatility.

“Bigger picture, U.S. investors continue to be of the
opinion that corrections are to be bought,” said James.

Gains in big-cap consumer staples names supported the Dow,
including retailer Wal-Mart (WMT.N: ), up 1.5 percent at $54.83
as it rose for a second straight day, and Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: )
,up 0.8 percent to $53.62.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) fell 37.34 points,
or 0.34 percent, to 10,889.43. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: ) eased 4.86 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,168.74. The
Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) lost 18.63 points, or 0.77
percent, to 2,405.62

Declining stocks ruled, beating advancers by 3 to 1.

Data on the U.S. private sector job market and the
economy’s services sector were generally positive and cushioned
the negative tone.

The Institute for Supply Management said the pace of growth
in the U.S. services sector, which accounts for some two-thirds
of U.S. economic activity, was unchanged in April compared with
March, while a separate report showed the U.S. private labor
sector added 32,000 jobs in April. [ID:nN05176572]

Worries that Greece’s debt crisis could spread were
underscored as a senior Moody’s analyst said the ratings agency
is more likely to downgrade Portugal’s credit rating after
putting it on a three-month review on Wednesday. Moody’s had
first put the country on negative outlook last year.
[ID:nLDE64421G]

Protests in Greece against the government’s planned
austerity plan turned violent on Wednesday. Protesters clashed
with police as tens of thousands of strikers marched, and three
people died when rioters set a central Athens bank ablaze.

The flight from risky assets pushed up the U.S. dollar
(.DXY: ), considered a safe-haven investment, and the greenback
gained 0.7 percent against a basket of major currencies.

Materials and industrial stocks, sensitive to the outlook
of global economic growth, weighed on the market. Energy shares
were also pressured as the price of oil fell more than $2 to
$80.53 a barrel.

The S&P Energy Index (.GSPE: ) was down 1 percent and Chevron
Corp (CVX.N: ) shares eased 0.6 percent to $80.27.

Stock Market Basics

(Editing by Leslie Adler)

US STOCKS-Wall St slips as Greece woes linger