Stocks finished higher Wednesday. The Dow gained 39 point to 26,218 while the S&P 500 added 6 points to 2,873. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 46 points to 7,895.
The S&P 500 advanced for a fifth consecutive day as optimism surrounding the U.S. and Chinese trade negotiations outweighed disappointing economic data updates. The ADP employment report showed 129,000 jobs were added in the private sector last month, the smallest increase since September 2017. Separately, mortgage applications surged 18.6% last week, hitting an October 2016 high amid a sharp drop in lending rates. Another update showed a gauge of service sector activity from ISM came in at 56.1 for March, below projections of 58.0 and the lowest level since 2017.
Five of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in positive territory. Materials shares paced the gains with Linde rising 2.7% to $182.74 following positive analyst comments. The Technology group also outperformed amid a rally by chipmakers. Advanced Micro Devices jumped 8.5% to $29.02 and Western Digital Corp climbed 3.2% to $52.01. Gains were capped, however, amid weakness in the Consumer Staples and Energy sectors.
Breadth was positive on issues by roughly 5:3 on the NYSE and by 4:3 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE Volume was more than 3.5 billion shares.
Treasuries weakened, with the yield on the 10-year note up five basis points to 2.52%. In commodities, NYMEX WTI crude was off 0.1% to $62.49/barrel as investors weighed an industry report that showed a larger-than-anticipated buildup of U.S. crude inventories. COMEX gold was little changed at $1,289.80.