The S&P closed higher, led by real estate and utilities, as improving jobs and manufacturing data and positive coronavirus vaccine data boosted investor sentiment at a time when rising virus cases threaten the outlook.
The S&P 500 gained 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.95% to close at a record high, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Biontech Se (NASDAQ:BNTX) released online results of a vaccine that showed promise in boosting immune responses in healthy patients.The results have not yet been reviewed by a medical journal.
The positive early-stage results helped ease concerns about a spike in cases that has forced some states to stall reopening efforts.
Still, manufacturing and labor data continued to show signs the recovery remains on track.
Private payrolls grew by 2.4 million in June, while May's figure was revised higher to 3 million, according to a report released Wednesday by ADP and Moody's (NYSE:MCO) Analytics. That missed economists' forecast for a rise of 3 million.
The private jobs data come ahead of the crucial nonfarm payroll report for June. Economists are forecasting that the economy generated 3 million jobs last month, but that "seems aggressive, and sets the bar very high," Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said. "We see risks skewed to the downside."
On the manufacturing front, ISM manufacturing data for June showed an uptick to 49.8, beating expectations of 49.6. A reading above 50 in the ISM index indicates an expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for about 12% of the U.S. economy.
The sharp rebound in manufacturing following the slump in April and May was led by strong improvements in the new orders and production indexes and paves the way for a solid month in July. The path beyond will depend on the evolution of the coronavirus outbreak, Jefferies added.
Energy fell 2.5%, shrugging off rising oil prices as worries over crude demand weighed on sentiment despite data showing U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 7.2 million barrels last week.
Rising mega-cap tech stocks supported the broader market, led by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) as the social media giant – taking steps to address recent concerns -- offered to meet with boycott organizers.
But Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was a notable exception to the climb in broader tech, after the iPhone maker said it would re-close more stores in seven states including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and Oklahoma, starting Thursday.
In other news, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that beat on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares 19% higher.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), meanwhile, closed at a record ahead of its second-quarter delivery numbers, expected later this week.