The markets and exchange traded funds (ETFs) stalled in early trading, just one day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 12,000, following a private report showing that U.S. companies added more employees than expected last month.

  • Stock-index futures wobbled after Automatic Data Processing released data showing that private-sector employment rose by 187,000 in January after a revised 247,000 gain in December, with the latter number lower than first estimated. “The specifics of the report aside, the general story of an improving economy, growing profits and increasing employment is bolstered further by today’s report,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.
  • European stocks turned mostly lower Wednesday as traders locked in some recent gains, with drug giant Roche Holding AG falling after its earnings disappointed the market. The Stoxx Europe 600 index slipped 0.1% in afternoon trading, erasing earlier gains. The index surged 1.5% Tuesday, buoyed by strong eurozone and U.S. economic data. The iShares MSCI United Kingdom Index ETF (NYSEArca: EWU) is up almost 1% in early trading.
  • Asian markets ended higher Wednesday on solid Wall Street gains, and as investors looked beyond the ongoing unrest in Egypt. Japan stocks were buoyed by advances in exporters and resource-sector shares, although a rise in Sydney was capped by a drop in insurance and transport companies as a severe cyclone approached Queensland State. The Vanguard Pacific Stock ETF (NYSEArca: VPL) rose slightly at the open.
  • Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX) shares are up about 4.5% on Wednesday after reporting a 22% increase in fourth-quarter earnings on strong results generated by its cable-television networks, easily exceeding most expectations. The New York-based media conglomerate also said its board voted to raise the quarterly dividend by 11% and to boost its share-buyback authorization to $5 billion. The PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF (NYSEArca: PBS) is up on Wednesday; Time Warner is 4.8% of the ETF.
  • Shares of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) rose over 15% in early trading. Late Tuesday, the video game publisher reported a wider third-quarter loss as sales fell, but it announced a better-than-expected forecast for the current quarter as well as a share-buyback plan worth $600 million. The iShares S&P North American Tech-Software ETF (NYSEArca: IGV) rose in early trading; Electronic Arts is 2% of the ETF.

Gregory A. Clay contributed to this article.

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