Closing Update: Fed's Beige Book Finds Growth Spreading Nationwide, Lifting Stocks to Narrow Gains

Stocks finished with narrow gains Wednesday, with the S&P 500 climbing to a new record high, locking in earlier advances after the Federal Reserve reported moderate growth throughout all of its 12 member districts. Labor conditions strengthened, the central bank said, with "brisk growth" seen at some shipping ports and steady consumer spending.

The Fed assessment, using data collected through May 23, supported market opinion the U.S. economy continues to mend following a short-lived downturn from harsh winter weather earlier this year. Consumer spending and manufacturing activity expanded to varying degrees across all districts, the report said, with ativity growing "robustly" in the Boston, New York, Atlanta and Kansas Districts.

Early weakness was tied to a below-consensus rise in the monthly ADP report on private-sector hiring during May as well as the Commerce Department reporting a wider trade deficit for April and revised Q1 productivity figures nearly doubling from initial readings.

But shares turned higher after the Institute for Supply Management reported a jump in its service-sector index, rising to a 56.3 reading in May, up from 55.2 during the prior month and beating market expectations for a small gain to a 55.3 reading for last month.

Crude oil for July delivery fell 6 cents to settle at $102.62 per barrel while July natural gas rose 2 cent to finish at $4.64 per 1 million BTU. August gold declined 20 cents to settle at $1,244.40 per ounce and July silver added 4 cents to end at $18.80 per ounce. July copper fell 5 cents to $3.09 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at the-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 15 points (+0.1%) at 16,737

S&P 500 up 3 points (+0.2%) at 1,927

Nasdaq Composite Index up 17 points (+0.4%) at 4,251


Hang Seng Index down 0.60%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.66%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.26%


(+) THRD, Shares rally to record high after accepting a $138 million buyout offer by Penn National Bancshares ( NPBC ), with THRW having the choice of receiving either $42 per share in cash or 4.22 shares of NPBC stock for each THRD share they now own.

(+) LSBI, Agrees to be acquired by Old National Bancorp ( ONB ) with shareholders receiving 2.269 ONB shares and $10.63 in cash - or $41.67 overall - for each share they now own. ONB expects the deal to increase FY15 earnings by $7.5 mln, or about $0.03 per share.

(+) NQ, Special audit committee refutes fraud accusations alleged by Muddy Waters Research LLL, saying the board panel found no evidence the Chinese wireless security and privacy company intentionally inflated its reported sales figures.


(-) FCEL, Q2 net loss more than doubles compared with year-ago levels to $15.8 mln, of $0.07 per share. Excluding items, it lost $0.04 per share, or $0.01 above estimates. Revenue declines 9.7% to $38.3 mln, trailing Street view by $6.88 mln.

(-) P, U.S. Justice Department agrees to request by Broadcast Music Inc and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to review royalty formula paid by the Internet broadcaster.

(-) AMCO, China approves limits imports restricted materials to 20,000 metric tons annually.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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