* Fed comments on balance sheet trigger selloff
* March U.S. private sector job additions beat estimates
* Record highs for Amazon, Microsoft and Apple
* Indexes down: Dow 0.03 pct, S&P 0.16 pct, Nasdaq 0.39 pct
(Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary)
By Sinead Carew
April 5 U.S. stocks turned negative on Wednesday
afternoon after meeting minutes showed that the Federal Reserve
sees a change in its bond investment policy later this year,
which reversed a rally after a strong jobs report earlier in the
Most Federal Reserve policymakers think the central bank
should take steps to begin trimming its $4.5 trillion balance
sheet later this year as long as the economic data holds up,
minutes released at 2pm ET showed.
"A little bit of the optimism has ebbed out of the market,"
due to the additional signs of monetary policy tightening,
according to Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer, at
Cornerstone Financial Partners, in Huntersville, North Carolina.
The Nasdaq biotechnology index turned negative
shortly after the minutes, likely because investors turned away
from riskier investments after the news, according to
Zaccarelli. The biotech index was last down 0.94 percent.
At 3:25PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
down 6.34 points, or 0.03 percent, to 20,682.9, the S&P 500
had lost 3.71 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,356.45 and
the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 22.86 points, or 0.39
percent, to 5,875.75.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.25-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.78-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 38 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 71 new highs and 52 new lows.
Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust
Capital Partners in Chicago also said the late afternoon selloff
was related to the Fed minutes and the comment that the Fed sees
a change to its reinvestment policy as likely to be appropriate.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York, Yashaswini
Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by James Dalgleish and Nick