U.S. Stocks Close Higher; S&P 500 Hits New High, Nasdaq Edges Lower
U.S. stocks closed broadly higher on Wednesday as optimism about strong economic recovery outweighed concerns about inflation and possibility of interest rate hikes happening next year.
Investors reacted to data on private sector employment, pending home sales and the reading on Chicago Business Barometer, and looked ahead to crucial non-farm payrolls data, due on Friday.
The surge in infections due to the delta variant of the coronavirus, and curbs on travel in several countries raised some uncertainty about the pace of global economic rebound and rendered the mood cautious.
Among the major averages, the Dow came back fairly strongly after suffering a setback in the previous session, the S&P 500 hit another record high, and the Nasdaq edged down marginally.
The Dow ended up by 210.22 points or 0.61 percent at 34,502.51. The S&P 500 settled at 4,297.50, gaining 5.70 points or 0.12 percent, and the Nasdaq closed lower by 24.38 points or 0.17 percent at 14,503.95.
The Dow ended the month almost unchanged from previous month’s level, after posting four monthly gains. The Nasdaq added more than 6% this month, while the S&P 500 gained more than 2%.
Data from Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) showed private business in the U.S. hired 692,000 workers in the month of June, higher than an expected addition of 600,000. However, the hiring in June was much below a downwardly revised 886,000 job additions in May.
According to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the MNI Chicago Business Barometer came in with a reading of 66.1 for June, down from a score of 75.2 in the previous month.
Data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed pending home sales in the U.S. increased by 13.1% year-on-year in May, after soaring by a record 51.7% in April.
Walmart, General Electric and Honeywell International gained 2 to 3 percent. Goldman Sachs climbed nearly 2 percent. Travelers Companies, Boeing, 3M and Caterpillar also closed notably higher.
Intel, Visa, Nike, Microsoft and IBM closed weak.
In overseas trading, European markets closed weak despite some upbeat data as uncertainty about the pace of economic recovery amid a surge in the Delta variant coronavirus cases and travel curbs in several countries rendered the mood bearish.
The pan European Stoxx 600 slid 0.77%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 ended 0.71% down, Germany’s DAX declined 1.02% and France’s CAC 40 shed 0.91%, while Switzerland’s SMI lost 0.71%.
Asian stocks ended mixed on Wednesday with benchmark indexes recording muted gains on the last day of June as cautious investors awaited the U.S. monthly payroll data due later in the week.
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