S&P Zigzags as Traders Digest Mixed Data

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The broad S&P 500 shifted between modest gains and losses on Wednesday as traders parsed through mixed data on the U.S. economy.

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Today's Markets

As of 11:00 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.6 points, or 0.03%, to 16717, the S&P 500 rose 1.7 points, or 0.09%, to 1926 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 10.8 points, or 0.25%, to 4244.

Wall Street has been anemic of late. In the last two weeks, volume has been low as the major market indexes have hovered in a fairly tight range. At the same time, Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, noted that bullishness among trading professionals is running at particularly high levels on the back of hopes of continued aggressive central bank actions.

Several closely-watched economic reports did little to provide more direction ahead of the European Central Bank meeting the following day.

Payroll processor ADP said the private sector added 179,000 jobs last month, widely missing views of 210,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said the trade deficit swelled to $47.24 billion in April, from $44.18 billion the month prior, and higher than the $40.8 billion deficit Wall Street expected. The data are a lagging indicator, but they will figure directly into measures of second-quarter GDP. The economy actually contracted at an annual pace of 1% in the first quarter as a result of harsh weather and a handful of other factors.

A report at 10 a.m. ET from the Institute for Supply Management is expected to indicate the vast U.S. services sector having expanded at a slightly quicker rate in May than it did the month prior. Earlier this week, a duo of errors made by ISM with the release of its factory data briefly shook up Wall Street.

Finally, the Federal Reserve releases its anecdotal Beige Book report at 2 p.m. ET. The report gives a snapshot of how the economy is faring across the central bank's dozen districts.

All of this comes ahead of the key monthly jobs report from the Labor Department  on Friday.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 66 points, or 0.64%, to $103.32 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.03% to $2.95 a gallon. Gold gained $1.10, or 0.09%, to $1,246 a troy ounce.

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