Yet another sign that the job market continues to improve is driving stocks and bond yields higher on Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is on track for its first up day in three and crossed above the 2,420 level for the first time.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 9 points, or 0.4 percent, to nearly 2,421, as of noon Eastern time. If it holds steady for the rest of the day, it would top its record closing level of 2,415.82 set last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 48 points, or 0.2 percent, to 21,057. The Nasdaq composite rose 25, or 0.4 percent, to 6,223. Smaller stocks were doing better than the rest of the market. The small-cap Russell 2000 index added 14 points, or 1 percent, to 1,384.
JOB JUMP: Employers continue to hire more workers. Payroll processor ADP said private businesses added 253,000 jobs last month, more than economists expected and an acceleration from April. It's a reassurance, particularly when growth of the overall economy has remained frustratingly tepid.
The more comprehensive jobs report from the U.S. government arrives on Friday. It will include hiring by all non-farm employers, and economists expect it to show growth of 176,000 jobs in May.
A separate report showed that the number of workers filing for unemployment claims rose last week, which could be an indication that layoffs are on the rise. The number remains low by historical standards.
INTEREST RATES: The better-than-expected jobs data encouraged investors to move money out of Treasury bonds and into riskier investments. With the drop in Treasury prices, the yield on the 10-year note inched up to 2.22 percent from 2.21 percent late Wednesday. The 30-year Treasury yield rose to 2.88 percent from 2.87 percent.
A stronger job market gives the Federal Reserve more leeway to raise interest rates, and its next meeting on rate policy is in two weeks. The central bank has been gradually pulling rates off their record low following the Great Recession, and it has raised them twice since December.
ACROSS THE ECONOMY: Other reports on the U.S. economy were mixed. Manufacturing growth picked up last month and was stronger than economists were expecting, but construction spending unexpectedly weakened in April.
OH, DEERE: Deere shares rose $2.90, or 2.4 percent, to $125.36 after it agreed to buy Wirtgen Group, a German maker of road-construction equipment for about 4.6 billion euros, or $5.2 billion, including debt.
FIVE STARS: Dollar General rose $2.38, or 3.2 percent, to $75.77 after it reported stronger earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected.
SINKING: Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell $1.29, or 6.9 percent, to $17.52 for the biggest drop in the S&P 500 after it reported a weaker quarter than analysts expected.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.30 Japanese yen from 110.57 yen late Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.1210 from $1.1246, and the British pound dipped to $1.2885 from $1.2892.
COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 78 cents to $49.10 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 62 cents to $51.38 per barrel.
Gold fell $9.50 to $1,265.90 per ounce, silver dropped 21 cents to $17.20 per ounce and copper added a penny to $2.59 per pound.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: France's CAC-40 gained 0.7 percent, Germany's DAX advanced 0.4 percent and London's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 advanced 1.1 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6 percent, and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.1 percent.
TRUMP AND CLIMATE: President Donald Trump was preparing to announce whether he will pull the United States out of the 195-nation Paris agreement to combat global warming by reducing carbon emissions. U.S. allies around the world sounded alarms about the likely consequences of an American withdrawal. Abandoning the pact would isolate the U.S. from allies who spent years negotiating the 2015 agreement.
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