Stocks Push Higher After Data Beat Expectations

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The markets drifted higher on Wednesday after upbeat reports on the U.S. economy and labor market. Traders were also bracing for the Fed policy statement.

Today’s Markets

As of 9:32 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 49.8 points, or 0.32%, to 15570, the S&P 500 rose 5.9 points, or 0.34%, to 1692 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 15 points, or 0.41%, to 3631.

Wednesday was set to be a busy day for the Street. 

A report from payroll processor ADP showed the U.S. private sector tacking on 200,000 jobs in July, topping expectations of an increase of 180,000. The labor market has shown continued signs of recovery, but the process has been stubbornly slow, economists said. 

The report comes ahead of the all-important monthly jobs report on Friday. 

“Today’s report long with the modest upward revisions provides a bit of optimism heading into Friday,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. 

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.7% in the second quarter, coming in well above estimates of 1%.

The Federal Reserve also concludes its two-day policy-setting meeting on the day. A statement is due out at 2:00 p.m. ET. Analysts expect the statement to focus on guidance for when the central bank will begin hiking interest rates. Fed watchers will also be looking for any hints on when the central bank will trim its vast bond-buying operation. 

Elsewhere, IBM (IBM) said the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating how it calculates cloud computing revenue. Big Blue said it was cooperating with the SEC in the matter. Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square revealed it took a 9.8% stake in Air Products & Chemicals (APD) worth $2.2 billion. 

In commodities, oil rose 26 cents, or 0.25%, to $103.35 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slumped 0.79% to $2.995 a gallon. In metals, gold advanced $4.20, or 0.32%, to $1,329 a troy ounce. 

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.24% to 2753, the English FTSE 100 rose 0.65% to 6613 and the German DAX dipped 0.37% to 8240.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 sold off by 1.5% to 13668 and the Chinese Hang Seng slipped 0.32% to 21884.

 

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