Stocks Higher, S&P Sets Record on Strong Service Sector Data

Stocks rose on Wednesday, lifting the S&P 500 to a new high, after a measure of the services sector climbed more than expected in May, helping counter another report that had private-sector job creation failing to live up to expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 15 points higher and the Nasdaq added 17 points. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,927.88, eclipsing Monday's previous record close of 1,924.97.

The markets earlier responded negatively to the latest reading from ADP and Moody's Analytics which found companies added 179,000 positions last month, well below expectations of 215,000 new jobs.

But later, the ISM non-manufacturing index rose to 56.3 in May, versus a 55.5 estimate, partially offsetting the private-sector data. Financial data firm Markit's gauge of the U.S. services sector expanded in May at its fastest rate since March 2012, up to 58.1 last month from a 55 read in April.

Stocks maintained highs after the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book of regional business conditions, which found expansion in all of the Fed's 12 districts.

The anecdotal information from the central bank comes ahead of a Federal Open Market Committee gathering later this month, and is "certainly not moving on a day when we are on ECB vigil," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, referring to a European Central Bank policy decision on Thursday.

"ISM balances out a disappointing ADP and a disappointing trade number," said Hogan.

Other data showed the U.S. trade gap expanding in April as Americans bought large amounts of consumer goods, cars and businessware from overseas.

The dollar turned higher against other global currencies and the 10-year Treasury yield rose a basis point to 2.608 percent.

Crude-oil futures for July delivery lost 2 cents to $102.64 a barrel; gold futures for August delivery reversed lower, ending at $1,244.30 an ounce, or down 20 cents.