Wall Street gained on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 ending at a new record, as investors brushed off weaker-than-expected labour market data and focused on better-than-forecast figures on service industries.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 15 points or 0.09%, to 16,738, the S&P 500 gained four points or 0.19%, to 1,929 and the Nasdaq Composite added 18 points or 0.41%, to 4,252.
Investors took a wait-and-see approach ahead of the European Central Bank policy meeting on Thursday and the US government's May nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index showed that growth in the US services sector accelerated more than expected in May and rose at the fastest pace in nine months. The ADP National Employment Report showed that fewer private-sector jobs were added in May than had been anticipated.
US solar companies were the day’s biggest gainers after the government slapped new import duties on solar panels and other related products from China in a preliminary determination. First Solar (FSLR.O) rose 3.9%.
Semiconductor stocks also gained with Skyworks Solutions (SWKS.O) up 2.4% and Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O) rising 3.3%.
In other company news, Protective Life (PL.N) jumped 18.1% in heavy trading after Japan's Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co (8750.T) agreed to buy the company for $5.7 billion.
The stock of Tibco Software Inc (TIBX.O) was one of the Nasdaq's most active, slumping 5.4% a day after the company gave a second-quarter outlook sharply below expectations.
NQ Mobile Inc (NQ.N) climbed 30.9% on heavy volume after the Chinese mobile security software maker said a special committee had found no evidence of fraud, following an accusation made by short-seller Muddy Waters Research Group.
In Asia, shares oscillated between gains and losses on Thursday after better-than-forecast data on US service industries and as investors await a ECB policy decision.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) slid 0.1% to 143 as of 11:14 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index were little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi index lost 0.8%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index slid 0.2% and Taiwan’s Taiex index slipped 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and China’s Shanghai Composite both fell 0.2%.