Stocks Edged Higher on Mixed Economic Data

U.S. stocks closed fractionally higher on Wednesday after mixed data showed modest-at-best growth in the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.47 points, or 0.01%, to 17,789.67. The S&P 500 advanced 2.37 points, or 0.11%, to 2,099.33. The Nasdaq Composite rose 4.20 points, or 0.08%, to 4,952.25.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a collection of anecdotes about the economy, indicated that most districts were seeing only moderate performance and that consumer spending and employment posted mostly modest growth.

U.S. manufacturers grew in May but at a very slow pace, suggesting the sector is unlikely to speed up anytime soon, a survey of executives found. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose to 51.3% last month from 50.8% in April.

Construction spending tumbled in April, due in part to a decline in residential spending, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The 1.8% decline was well below forecasts of a 0.7% gain from economists polled by MarketWatch.

U.S. auto sales shifted downward in May as fewer selling days in the month led to less foot traffic in showrooms.Ford Motor Co. reported a 6.1% decline overall to 234,748 light vehicles sold in the month. General Motors Co. said sales skidded 18% in the month to 240,450. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported its U.S. sales edged 1.1% higher in May.

The JPMorgan global manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI), slipped to 50.0 in May from 50.1 in April. Any reading above 50 signals expansion, and any reading below signals contraction. This reading of 50.0 signals stagnation.

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