US stocks rose on Wednesday as expectations of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve were lifted following the weakest pace of private sector jobs growth in more than nine years in May.
Hopes of a rate cut were rekindled on Tuesday after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would respond "as appropriate" to risks posed by a global trade war, after similar dovish remarks from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard.
The ADP National Employment Report showed that U.S. private employers added 27,000 jobs last month, much below expectations of a 180,000 increase. Analysts blamed the weakness on heightening global trade tensions.
The data, which comes ahead of the more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls from the Labor Department on Friday, increased the likelihood that the U.S. central bank would cut interest rates by at least 75 basis points through December.
Markets are supported by "comments from Jerome Powell and the very weak reading on the jobs front which is being interpreted as further rationale for a rate cut," said Mike Loewengart, vice-president of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial in New York.
Banking stocks, which typically benefit from a rising interest rate environment, slipped 0.50%, while the broader financial sector fell 0.17%.
Fears of a global slowdown resurfaced last month following a sudden escalation in the trade tensions between the United States and China last month, putting the tech-heavy Nasdaq in correction territory and pulling the benchmark S&P 500 index 5% away from its record high hit on May 1.
The gains were capped by energy sector's 1.45% drop, the most among five S&P sectors trading lower, as crude prices extended declines.
At 11:23 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 117.64 points, or 0.46%, at 25,449.82, while the S&P 500 was up 8.85 points, or 0.32%, at 2,812.12. The Nasdaq Composite was up 12.44 points, or 0.17%, at 7,539.56.
The defensive utilities and real estate were among the best performing S&P sectors.
Apple Inc was the only gainer among the high-growth FAANG stocks, up 2%. Others in the group - Amazon.com, Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and Netflix Inc - lost between 0.1% and 1.1% and pressured the Nasdaq.
Campbell Soup Co jumped nearly 9%, the most on the S&P index, after the food company raised its full-year profit forecast.
Salesforce.com Inc rose 3.2% after a quarterly beat and above expectations full-year forecast.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.61-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 45 new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and 65 new lows.