“Solid U.S. jobs and service sector data on Thursday bolstered views the Federal Reserve could start slowing its bond-buying program as soon as this month, but plunging orders for factory goods highlighted uncertainty around the economic outlook…The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its services index rose to 58.6, its highest since December 2005, from 56 in July. The reading handily topped economists' consensus expectations for 55 and beat the high end of forecasts. "Services represent approximately 85 percent of the economy, so the continued expansion of the sector is critical for the continuation of the overall economy recovery," wrote Thomas Simons, a money market economist at Jefferies & Co in New York, in a note to clients.
…In addition, U.S. private employers added 176,000 jobs in August, and new jobless claims last week fell to a near five-year low.” Story at…
“After a hearing on Syria that lasted more than three hours Tuesday, Sen. Ron Johnson says he didn't get an answer on what he perceives as the biggest threat to U.S. national security interests…’If the result of our action really was the fall of the Assad regime, are they prepared to do what's necessary to make sure that those chemical weapons don't fall into the hands of al Qaeda- backed rebels?’ Johnson asked. ‘I didn't get that answer.’" Story at…
Thursday, the S&P was up 0.1% to 1655 (rounded) at the close, but the index had been higher; after 3PM it gave up most of its gains as the Pros sold.