Stocks rebounded Wednesday, closing out a downbeat Q3 with strong gains although the rally was far from enough to erase their worst quarter in four years. Consumer discretionary shares led today's surge, jumping over 2.5% as a group and helping turn around a mid-day slump that threatened to extend recent declines for the U.S. markets.
Copper and other industrial metals also rose briskly to lift shares of mining companies while energy stocks gained despite a weak finish for crude oil futures. Overall, all 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 finished higher, with a recovery for biotech shares working to carry health care stocks to a big advance.
Economic data today was largely stock-friendly, with the ADP private payrolls report for September finding employers hired 200,000 new workers last month, topping Wall Street expectations by around 10,000 hires. The increase include a big increase in construction hiring, almost doubling August levels, although manufacturing payrolls saw their largest decline since 2010.
The weakening factory sector also was reflected in the Chicago-area Purchasing Managers' Index, falling to a 48.7 reading compared with 54.4 during August and slipping below the 50.0 threshold indicating a contraction. Analysts, on average, had been looking for a 53.6 reading this month.
Crude oil for November delivery settled 14 cents lower, giving back earlier gains, at $45.09 per barrel. November natural gas futures fell 6 cents to finish at $2.53 per 1 million BTU. December gold declined $12.10 to finish at $1,114.60 per ounce while December copper climbed 9 cents to $2.34 per pound.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at the end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 235.57 (+1.47%) to 16,284.70
S&P 500 up 35.94 (+1.91%) to 1,920.03
Nasdaq Composite Index up 102.84 (+2.28%) to 4,620.16
Hang Seng Index up 1.41%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.48%
FTSE 100 Index up 2.58%
(+) BLPH, Presents Phase III data showing its INOpulse nitric-delivery device improved respiratory and cardiovascular function in older adult patients with with high blood pressure associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
(+) RENT, Agrees to $732 mln buyout offer from rival audience measurement firm ComScore ( SCOR ), receiving 1.15 of a SCOR share for each RENT share, a 9.9 % premium over RENT's closing price on Tuesday.
(+) MDWD, U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority awards five-year contract worth up to $112 mln, including $24 mln to support work needed for FDA approval of NexoBrid and $16 mln for NexoBrid procurement.
(-) UACL, Sees Q3 earnings in a range of $0.27 to $0.31 per share, trailing consensus view looking for $0.43 per share profit. Projected revenue of $283 mln to $290 mln also lags analyst estimates expecting $298.9 mln
(-) CJES, Sees Q3 financial results falling short of its guidance provided during Q2 earnings conference call, blaming slower-than-anticipated activity and pricing levels along with sustained weakness in commodity prices.
(-) USAT, Delays filing its 2015 annual report with regulators after identifying "deficiencies in both the design and operating effectiveness" of its internal controls for financial reporting.
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