Stocks managed small gains on Wall Street Wednesday following a mixed set of reports on the economy. The S&P 500 inched up less than 0.1%, enough to break a three-day losing streak. Banks and communication services companies led the gains. Weakness in tech stocks pulled the Nasdaq slightly lower. Overnight, Wall Street had seemed set for a rockier day of trading, the AP reports. President Trump suggested that he may not sign the $900 billion economic rescue package Congress just approved. But investors quickly shrugged it off. Roughly 60% of the stocks in the S&P 500 rose. The S&P 500 rose 2.75 points to 3,690.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 114.32 points, or 0.38%, to 30,129.83, and the Nasdaq, which hit a record high Tuesday, dropped 36.80 points, or 0.29%, to 12,771.11.
An hour before trading began, the government released an avalanche of data on the economy that showed some optimistic signs and several disappointing ones. The most encouraging one said fewer US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week. The number is still incredibly high compared with before the pandemic, but it was better than economists were expecting. Another report said that orders for long-lasting goods strengthened by more than expected last month, a good sign for the nation’s manufacturers. Other data reports were more grim, though. Consumers pulled back on their spending by more last month than expected. It was the first drop since April, and it’s a discouraging signal for an economy that’s driven mostly by consumer spending.
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