Stocks eked out some modest gains on Wall Street Wednesday, enough to nudge the Nasdaq composite index to another all-time high. The S&P 500 gave up nearly all of a midday gain and ended just 1 point higher, or less than 0.1%. Small-company stocks did better than the rest of the market. The muted trading came a day after the S&P 500 closed out August with its seventh consecutive monthly gain. Energy prices ended mixed and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 1.30%. The S&P 500 rose 1.41 points to 4,524.09. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.20 points, or 0.1%, to 35,312.53. The Nasdaq rose 50.15 points, or 0.3%, to 15,309.38. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 13.28 points, or 0.6%, to 2,287.06.
Technology and communications stocks made solid gains that helped lift an otherwise choppy market. Investors were weighing a weak survey from payroll processor ADP that showed US companies added jobs at a much slower pace than economists had anticipated, the AP reports. The survey found that US businesses added 374,000 jobs in August, per MarketWatch. Economists had predicted 600,000. The weak report follows a disappointing consumer confidence survey on Tuesday and comes ahead of the Labor Department's release of its August jobs report on Friday. "Friday's (jobs) numbers are going to be very carefully looked at on all levels," says Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments.
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