US stocks have reversed losses to close higher as investors cheered the latest reading on the crucial services sector in the US. Earlier, stocks had fallen at the open on a softer private survey of jobs growth and a widening trade deficit.
At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lifted 15.13 points, or 0.09%, to 16,737.47, just six points shy of its record close of two days ago.
The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 3.64 points, or 0.19%, to 1,927.88, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index added 17.56 points, or 0.41%, to 4,251.64.
The lift in the S&P 500 led it to a fresh record, its third in the past four trading days.
Driving positive sentiment was the late morning release of the non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI), which showed activity in the services sector surging in the US. The reading of 56.3 for May was well above expectations for 55.5.
Capping gains, however, was news from payrolls firm ADP that the US private sector had added its lowest number of jobs for four months. While the news didn't cause too much market anxiety, it has dampened expectations for the official jobs report at the end of the week.
Another negative influence was a report showing the US trade deficit had jumped 6.9% in April, well above projections for a 2.2% lift.
Investors are waiting patiently for the latest rates decision from the European Central Bank, with its plans for further stimulus to the stuttering eurozone economy likely to drive action on global markets tomorrow.