New York: Stocks held on to modest gains on Wednesday, with the Dow edging up 4%, the S&P 500 gaining .6% and the Nasdaq advancing 9% on optimistic economic news.
While positive corporate earnings helped buoy markets in July, investors still remain cautious on economic news, and ahead of jobs report out on Friday, one of the most watched indicators on Wall Street.
A report released on Wednesday showed that hiring by private companies increased more than expected, adding 42,000 jobs in July, versus an upwardly revised 19,000 increase in June.
Another upbeat report by the Institute of Supply Management showed the services sector expanded for the 7th straight month, rising to 54.3% in July from 53.8% in June. Any number above 50 indicates an economic expansion.
News from China that officials there have told banks to perform a new round of assessment tests to see the impact of a fall in the heated-up housing market there also worried markets.
In corporate news, Toyota posted a Q1 profit of $2.1 billion, helped by a recovery in most regions except Europe. This is the company’s 4th quarterly consecutive profit, versus a loss of $804 million, a year earlier. For the full fiscal year starting 1 April, Toyota expects to report a net profit of $3.8 billion, a 63% improvement over last year.
In world markets, both European indices as well as Asian indices ended the day mixed.
In commodities, US light crude oil for September delivery was at $82.44 a barrel after falling 11 cents , while gold’s December contract rose $15.50 to $1,195.90 per ounce.
In bonds, treasury prices eased, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up to 2.95% from 2.91% on Tuesday.