NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock indices were mixed early Wednesday afternoon, impacted by losses in the technology sector.
Support could be found, however, in cease-fire talks between Ukraine and Russia.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
Advancers were slightly ahead of decliners by a ratio of 1.04 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange. Decliners had a slight edge over advancers on the Nasdaq by a 1.29 to 1 ratio. Microsoft (MSFT) was also a drag on technology shares, one of the only two sectors in the red; the other being consumer cylicals. 24 of 30 Dow components were in the green.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed on a "cease-fire process," correcting an earlier statement that a "permanent cease-fire" had been agreed upon. The Kremlin said the two leaders had "coincided significantly" on possible ways to end the crisis, British Broadcasting Corp. reported.
European stock indices rallied on Wednesday, galvanized by news of the potential cease-fire and a strong performance from Asia.
Chinese indices were buoyed by HSBC Holdings plc/Markit Economics composite purchasing managers' index, which rose for the fourth straight month in August.
In the U.S., factory orders jumped 10.5% in July vs. the 11% consensus, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday. As expected, they fell 0.8% excluding the transportation component, which was driven by big orders from Boeing (BA) . Strong underlying results such as a 1.2% rise in shipments and a June upward revision was consistent with expectations of continued manufacturing expansion.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book report providing a snapshot of economic conditions from each of the 12 Fed districts will be released at 2 p.m. EDT.
In Wednesday's corporate headlines, CVS (CVS) , the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, is changing its name and stopping the sale of tobacco nearly a month sooner than planned. Shares were up 0.61% to $80.22.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) slumped 5.45% to $38.70 after warning of higher jet fuel costs in the third quarter and trimming operating margin and passenger unit revenue growth forecasts for the period due to the geopolitical concerns.
Home Depot (HD) , the nation's No. 1 home improvement retailer, said it's working with both banks and law enforcement to investigate "unusual activity" that would point to a major credit card data breach. The stock was down 0.91% to $90.32.
Netflix (NFLX) struck a deal with Time Warner's (TWX) Warner Bros. to secure streaming rights in the U.S. and international markets for "Gotham," a TV show that tells of the city before Batman, and is one of the fall's most anticipated new dramas, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Netflix advanced 0.71% to $479.98.
The United States Oil Fund LP (USO) rose 1.21% to $35.21 and the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) added 0.3% to $122.02 as the U.S. dollar drifted lower against a basket of major currencies. U.S. stock indices ended Tuesday mixed as investors returned from the U.S. Labor Day weekend largely indecisive about their positioning despite a trio of good U.S. economic reports.
Read More: Stock Market Today: Stocks End Mixed Despite Gains in Manufacturing, Construction
--By Andrea Tse in New York