Thursday, September 05 15:37:17
U.S. stocks edged higher today, putting equities on track for a third straight day of gains as a flurry of economic data pointed to improving economic conditions.
Gains were limited, however, with many investors reluctant to make big bets going into Friday's payroll report, and with the prospect of a Western-led strike against Syria still uncertain.
While the data was positive, it did little to alter investor speculation about when the U.S. Federal Reserve might begin to ease its accommodative monetary policies, credited with fuelling the equity market's gains in 2013.
"Equities are stuck right now, and there won't be conviction for buyers or sellers until we get more clarity," said Todd Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital in New York.
The ADP National Employment report showed U.S. private employers added 176,000 jobs in August, nearly matching expectations for a gain of 180,000 jobs, while weekly initial jobless claims fell more than expected to a seasonally adjusted 323,000.
Separately, the Institute for Supply Management's read on the services sector rose more than expected in August, while factory orders fell less than had been anticipated.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.42 points or 0.23 percent, to 14,965.29, the S and P 500 gained 4.12 points or 0.25 percent, to 1,657.2 and the Nasdaq Composite added 7.591 points or 0.21 percent, to 3,656.633. (Reuters)