NEW YORK, March 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed Wednesday, with the S&P 500 briefly hitting a record intraday high of 1,876.53 points, after major indices logged the best day in 2014.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 35.70 points, or 0.22 percent, to 16,360.18. The S&P 500 inched down 0.10 point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,873.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 6.00 points, or 0.14 percent, to 4,357.97.
U.S. private sector employment added 139,000 jobs in February, according to ADP National Employment Report released Wednesday, falling short of economists' forecast.
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said in the news release, "February was another soft month for the job market. Employment was weak across a number of industries. Bad winter weather, especially in mid-month, weighed on payrolls. Job growth is expected to improve with warmer temperatures."
After the private jobs report, investors are looking ahead to the closely-watched nonfarm payrolls report for February due out Friday by the Labor Department.
Moreover, U.S. economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector increased in February for the 49th consecutive month, with the index registering 51.6, lower than January's reading of 54, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday. The number also missed market consensus.
Reports from most of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic conditions continued to expand from January to early February, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book.
The book confirmed that abnormally cold weather has imposed a negative impact on the economy, citing that U.S. retail sales growth weakened for most Districts as severe winter weather limited activity.
On the previous trading day, the broader S&P 500 set a fresh all-time intraday high of 1,876.23 points and a record closing high of 1,873.91 points on eased tensions in Ukraine.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, dropped 1.49 percent to 13.89.
In other markets, oil prices continued to drop Wednesday as U.S. crude supplies increased for a seventh week. Light, sweet crude for April delivery moved down 1.88 dollars to settle at 101.45 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rebounded slightly Wednesday, with the most active gold contract for April delivery up 2.4 dollars to settle at 1,340.3 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar was mixed against major currencies on Friday amid a pair of gloomy U.S. economic data.
In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3731 dollars from 1.3734 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound increased to 1.6712 dollars from 1.6672 dollars.