Stocks are mostly higher in morning trading on Wednesday, adding to the notable gains posted in the previous session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq briefly turned negative after seeing initial strength but has since rejoined the Dow and the S&P 500 above the unchanged line.
Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory. The Dow is up 218.61 points or 0.8 percent at 28,864.27, the Nasdaq is up 25.79 points or 0.2 percent at 11,965.46 and the S&P 500 is up 21.34 points or 0.6 percent at 3,547.99.
The markets continue to benefit from recent upward momentum, which has propelled stocks higher over the past several weeks.
The Nasdaq and S&P 500 have once again set new record intraday highs, while the Dow has reached its best levels in six months and is closing in on the record high set in February.
Traders continue to express optimism about the economy recovering from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, although some analysts have suggested the markets may be getting ahead of themselves.
A notable drop by shares of Apple (AAPL) is limiting the upside for the tech-heavy Nasdaq, with the tech giant slumping by 2.8 percent after reaching a new record intraday high in early trading.
Shares of Tesla (TSLA) have also come under pressure following news the electric car maker’s largest outside shareholder Baillie Gifford & Co. has reduced its stake in the company.
Meanwhile, trades have largely shrugged off a report from payroll processor ADP showing much weaker than expected private sector job growth in the month of August.
ADP said private sector employment increased by 428,000 jobs in August after rising by an upwardly revised 212,000 jobs in July.
Economists had expected employment to jump by 950,000 jobs compared to the addition of 167,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
“The August job postings demonstrate a slow recovery,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.
She added, “Job gains are minimal, and businesses across all sizes and sectors have yet to come close to their pre-COVID-19 employment levels.”
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report, which includes both public and private sector jobs.
Economists currently expect employment to jump by 1.400 million jobs in August after surging up by 1.763 million jobs in July. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 9.8 percent from 10.2 percent.
Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, although significant strength is visible among semiconductor stocks.
Reflecting the strength in the sector, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is advancing by 1.4 percent to a new record intraday high.
Utilities stocks have also shown a strong move to the upside, with the Dow Jones Utility Average climbing by 1.4 percent after ending the previous session at its lowest closing level in almost two months.
On the other hand, gold stocks have moved sharply lower on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 2 percent.
The sell-off by gold stocks comes amid a steep drop by the price of the precious metal, as gold for December delivery is tumbling $29.80 to $1,949.10 an ounce.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all shown strong moves to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has jumped by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are up by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries are little changed after turning higher over the course of the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 0.666 percent.
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