Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened lower in light trade on Tuesday, as recent U.S. data fuelled speculation over an earlier-than-expected end to the Federal Reserve’s easing program.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 0.09%, the S&P 500 index slipped 0.12%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.22%.
Data on Friday showed that the U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs last month, well above expectations for an increase of 160,000. The unemployment rate ticked down to 7.7%, the lowest level since December 2008, from 7.9% in January.
Meanwhile, market sentiment remained under pressure amid concerns over the economic outlook for the euro zone, while worries over ongoing political uncertainty in Italy also weighed.
In the rech sector, Apple dropped 0.81% after Jefferies cut its target price on the iPhone maker to USD420 from USD500.
The stock had climbed on Monday amid rumors the next iPhone will include a fingerprint sensor and a near-field communications chip for mobile payments.
Hewlett-Packard slipped 0.29%, following reports the U.K. Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by managers at Autonomy Corp., the software maker acquired and later written down by Hewlett-Packard.
Adding to losses, RadioShack plunged 6.03% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the electronics retailer to "sell" from "neutral," calling the business model "challenged".
Financial stocks were also broadly lower, as shares in Goldman Sachs dipped 0.01% and Bank of America edged down 0.08%, while JP Morgan and Citigroup retreated 0.22% and 1.03% respectively.
On the upside, Costco Wholesale rallied 1.62% after posting higher-than-expected earnings, thanks to its membership fee increase.
Separately, Yum Brands surged 4.05% after saying same-store sales in China rose 2% in February, compared to expectations for a 9% decline. The company also posted a 20% decline in the first quarter, less than the 25% drop the company had previously estimated.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The EURO STOXX 50 eased 0.03%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.14%, Germany's DAX dipped 0.02%, while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.17% higher.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.87%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.28%.