Stocks Advance To Modest Gains Ahead Of Independence Day

Michael Teague  |

Wall Street ended the shortened trading day on slight gains ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.38 percent to 14,988.55, the S&P 500 up 0.8 percent 1,615.41 points, and the NASDAQ up 0.3 percent to close the day at 3,443.67.

Three significant and mostly positive economic data points figured in to Wednesday’s abbreviated trading, ahead of the monthly jobs report due out on Friday. Weekly initial jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 343,000, nudging slightly under the forecasted 345,000. The ADP employment survey was also released, indicating that private companies added 188,000 jobs in June, well above the 134,000 jobs added in May and also well ahead of the average forecast of 150,000.

Meanwhile, the June figure for the ISM services index was down to 52.2, below economist expectations of 54.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) was the leader on the S&P 500, closing on an advance of 3.5 percent to $384.47 after the stock was upgraded from “hold” to “buy” by Argus. On the Dow, defense giant Boeing (BA) lead the pack with a gain of 1.4 percent to $102.89.

On the NASDAQ, online gaming company Zynga (ZNGA) continued to ride on the momentum from yesterday’s announcement of the departure of CEO Mark Pincus, who will be replaced by Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox chief Don Mattrick. Zynga closed up over 4.5 percent ahead of Thursday’s holiday.

Investors are anticipating Friday’s jobs report from the Department of Labor, but will also be keeping an eye on the very fluid situation in Egypt, which has sent the price of oil over $100, as the country is responsible for controlling the Suez Canal, one of the world’s major maritime shipping routes. Egyptian president Mohamad Morsi’s defiance of a military order to meet the demands of protestors or step down was met on Wednesday with tanks and deployments of soldiers to the streets of Cairo as well as the country’s other major cities, a sign that has been widely interpreted to mean that a military coup is already well underway.

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